Dyslexia Checklist for Children from Reception to Year 1

How to Tell if a Young Child may be At-Risk of Dyslexia

(Suitable for Kindergarten, Reception and Year 1 students)

Endeavouring to identify if your child has Dyslexia can be a tricky process. Here’s some simple checks and information to start the process however we strongly suggest you seek a professional diagnosis and reports before any true determination can be applied.

Source: SPELD website

Research indicates that approximately 10% of children have dyslexia. This means that there is likely to be at least one child in every class who displays the pattern of strengths and weaknesses characteristic of dyslexia. Do you have a young child who puzzles you, displaying well-developed skills and abilities in some areas and unexpected difficulties in others?

Complete this checklist to determine if that child could be at-risk of dyslexia.


  • family history of literacy learning problems
  • delay in the onset and/or the development of speech and language
  • seems bright and capable but not making expected progress
  • is unhappy soon after starting school
Compared to their age peers dyslexic children often display difficulties in the following areas:

Speech Difficulties

Dyslexic children typically have well-developed oral language skills but display specific speech problems, such as:

  • gets sounds in words muddled up (e.g., says flutterby for butterfly)
  • mixes up words (e.g., says ‘jungled’ for ‘jumbled’)
  • displays word finding difficulties (e.g., calls a ‘stamp’ a ‘sticker’ or often uses words like ‘thing’, ‘stuff’ or ‘junk’)

Memory Difficulties

  • finds it hard to remember the words in nursery rhymes, songs, poems, etc.
  • has a poor memory for names (of friends, teacher, etc.)
  • difficulty remembering instructions

Difficulties in acquiring pre-literacy skills

  • has unexpected difficulty developing reading and spelling skills
  • enjoys listening to stories read aloud but shows little interest in letters or words
  • has trouble learning and remembering the sounds corresponding to the letters of the alphabet
  • has trouble learning and remembering common sight words (e.g., you, have, like, come, etc.)
  • cannot write own name correctly from memory by age 5
  • has difficulty recognising numbers after considerable exposure at pre-school/school

Phonological processing difficulties

  • displays poor phonological awareness skills (i.e., finds it hard to reflect upon the sound structure of spoken words)
  • has difficulty analysing spoken language into its component parts (e.g., sentences, words, sounds)
  • has trouble recognising and predicting ryhme (e.g. trouble picking the odd one out of sand/hand/cup)
  • fails to appreciate alliteration (e.g., trouble picking the odd one out of jam/jug/bed)
  • confuses similar sounding words (e.g., cone/comb)

A child who appears bright and capable and displays many of these difficulties may be at-risk for dyslexia. However, it is important to remember that the levels of development and speed of learning in early childhood differ significantly for each child.

Nevertheless, much can be done at this young age to prevent later difficulties. A good starting point is a comprehensive assessment by an educational psychologist who will identify cognitive strengths and weaknesses and make recommendations to help address identified difficulties. A psychologist will also suggest other specialists if appropriate (e.g., speech pathologists, occupational therapist, tutor, etc.).

Dyslexia Checklist for Primary School Children

Phone: 0401 959 821

Please feel free to contact me if you would like more information about Dyslexia tutoring or tutoring for other Literacy learning needs and ways best to support your child.