This list of expected accomplishments is from Overcoming Dyslexia, by Sally Shaywitz, MD. A noted researcher in neuroscience and a pediatrician, Dr Shaywitz is professor of pediatrics and codirector of the Yale Center for the Study of Learning and Attention. She is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. She hopes her book will be a “trusted source you can turn to for information, for advice, for guidance and for explanation.”

  1. Age 3-4 (Early Preschool)- Developing awareness that sentences – and words – come apart, Interested in sounds of language: repeats and plays, Identifies some alphabet lettersAge 4-5 (Late Preschool), Breaks spoken words into syllables, May count syllables if asked, Begins to break words into phonemes (the three sounds in “cat”, for example), May count phonemes if asked, Growing number of letters can be named and sounded
  2. Age 5-5 ½ (Beginning Kindergarten) - Compares two words for rhyme, Names a word to rhyme with another, Knows and names almost all upper- and lowercase letters
  3. Age 5 ½ -6 (End of Kindergarten)- Spoken Language, Progresses with syllable understanding and counting, Identifies which spoken word or picture begins with a given sound,or a different sound from the one given, Pronounces beginning sound in a word when asked, Counts number of phonemes in small word (“me” has two), Blends phonemes into a word ( /zzzz/ plus /oo/ says “zoo”)
  4. Print, Names all alphabet letters, Knows sounds of almost all letters, Understands the “alphabetic principle” (a word’s letter sequence represents the number and sequence of sounds in the word), Begins decoding simple words, Recognizes growing number of words by sigh, Uses “invented spelling” ( krr says “car”), Writes many upper- and lowercase letters, Writes his/her own name (first and last), family members’ or pets’ names
  5. Age 6-7 (First Grade)- Spoken Language, Counts sounds in longer words ( “same” has three), Says what word is “left” if you take away a sound (“say ‘bat’ without the /b/!”), Blends sounds into longer words ( /m/ /aaaa/ /n/ says “man”)
  6. Print, Reads first grade text with accuracy and comprehension, Links letters to sounds to decode unknown words, Decodes one-syllable words (real and nonsense), Knows sounds of common letter groups or word families (-ite, -ate), Recognizes by sight common irregularly spelled words ( “have”, “said”, “where”), Reading vocabulary is three hundred to five hundred words, Monitors his or her own reading, Self-corrects if words don’t “fit”, Reads simple instructions (“Open your book”), Begins to spell accurately short, easy words
  7. Age 7-8 (Second Grade)- Print, Links letters to sounds routinely to decode words, Begins to learn strategies for breaking longer words into syllables, Accurately reads some multisyllable words, Begins to read with “fluency” (accurately, smoothly, rapidly and with inflection),Reads second grade texts with comprehension, Spelling will represent the complete sound of a word, even if not correct, Reads voluntarily, on his own
  8. Age 8-9 (Third Grade)- Print, Reads third grade text with fluency and comprehension, Uses prefixes, suffixes and roots to infer word meaning, Reads longer fiction, “chapter books”, Summarizes main points from readings. Spells learned words correctly, Uses a dictionary to learn unknown words
  9. Age 9 and Up (Fourth Grade and Above)- Reads to learn, Reads for pleasure and information