Tips for Identifying Dyslexia in Children

Tips for teachers

As teachers, we can use our professional judgment and assessment tools to question whether a student needs further support with their learning.

Here is a list that may help you identify a possible student with a dyslexia challenge. Please take note that not all students with dyslexia will display these difficulties or characteristics. They may have strengths in other areas of the curriculum or other personal qualities or study habits.

The resource list below also provides more detailed checklists that can be used as an initial assessment by a teacher.

Further investigation then needs to be discussed with inclusive education teachers, coordinators or management within your school to decide what the next step will be.

Value of teachers supporting children's learning challenges

Observation of the student


  • Do they have trouble getting organised?
  • Do they lose or forget their belongings?
  • Do they need structure?
  • Do they have difficulty with change in routines?
  • Do they have difficulty finishing their work in a set time frame?
  • Do they avoid doing work?

Getting along

  • Do they have problems listening and communicating their needs?
  • Do they have problems following multiple instructions?
  • Are they disruptive in class?


  • Do they persist with tasks or give up?
  • Do they have problems engaging in tasks and being motivated?
  • Do they have trouble paying attention or concentrating?
  • Do they get tired?


  • Do they lack confidence?
  • Are they quiet or withdrawn?


  • Do they become upset or frustrated about their learning?
  • Do they refuse to go to school?

Other challenges

  •  Do they have difficulty remembering or recalling information?
  •  Do they have trouble copying from the board?
  •  Do they have difficulty in writing neatly and have incorrect letter formation?

Other information can be gathered through testing and work samples and these can include

  • Phonological awareness testing (knowledge of the sounds)
  • Reading tests (whether they are on the correct reading level for their age)
  • Knowledge of sight words (both in reading and spelling)
  • Free writing samples
  • Spelling tests (standardised and class tests)
  • Letter formation and handwriting
  • Assessment in other curriculum areas

Information from families

This is a great source of information.

  • How are they at home?
  • Do they get tired?
  • What does their child think of homework?
  • Do they get frustrated when it comes to doing homework or reading?
  • How do they feel about coming to school?

Information from the student

  • Have a discussion with the child about their learning. For example- their reading, spelling, other curriculum areas or school in general.
  • What types of books do they like and why?
  • What do they find difficult about school and why?

This will depend on the age and ability of the child.


This list of websites helps gather more information about the student, using the checklists.

DyslexiaVictoria – Test for Dyslexia