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The following is a general list of risk factors for reading difficulties by grade level. Please note that the list is not all-inclusive and should be interpreted with reference to age and grade expectations.

Risk Indicators for Preschool

A history of significant language delay or disorder, even if the child currently appears to have age-appropriate language abilities

Limited exposure to oral and written language before beginning school

A native language other than English

A disability that affects oral language acquisition, such as a hearing impairment

A significant history of reading difficulties in close family members

Oral language difficulties

Risk Indicators for children in Kindergarten and First Grade

Poor phonological / phonemic awareness

Lack of familiarity with basic print

Poor knowledge of common letter-sound relationships

Difficulty decoding unfamiliar

Risk Indicators for children in Second and Third Grade


Ongoing difficulties with decoding of unfamiliar words

Slow, laboured, dysfluent reading

Poor reading of comprehension

Poor spelling


The Reading Acquisition Framework - An Overview by Wesley A. Hoover and P.B.Gough

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