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In recognition of Dyslexia Awareness Month, Read Naturally begins a series of articles designed to build knowledge around the learning disorder of dyslexia. This first article summarizes the remarkable discovery of the language disorder over 140 years ago.

Your struggling readers have likely asked themselves, or you, “Why is reading hard for me?” Sometimes, there is not a clear reason. With a little extra help, many struggling readers are simply able to crack the code and catch up. Other times, there is a clear reason: For millions of students, it’s dyslexia. Unfortunately, many individuals with dyslexia remain undiagnosed and have a more difficult time catching up to their peers.

If you work with struggling readers, chances are you’ve encountered a student with dyslexia. Dyslexia is the most common learning disability in the country. Students with dyslexia are smart and competent, but differences in their brains make reading much harder for them. While educators and parents don’t usually make official dyslexia diagnoses, they are often the first ones to spot the symptoms, which include trouble with decoding, spelling, rhyming, and phonological awareness.

Children are masters at reading our expectations of them. What we communicate with our body language, mood, and tone of voice while interacting with them often speaks louder than the actual words we say. And when we have expectations, guess what? For better or worse, the children live into them.

A new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics shows that students with dyslexia are underperforming their peers at an earlier age than previously thought. The study asserts that the achievement gap between typical readers and students with dyslexia is evident as early as first grade.

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