The word dyslexia came into English from German. The term first appeared in a German medical publication in 1883 with the meaning of “difficulty in reading due to affection of the brain.” The German word dyslexie was coined from Greek elements: dys, “bad, abnormal, difficult,” and lexis, “word.”

The following symptoms are associated with dyslexia:

Children diagnosed with dyslexia can, with intensive phonics instruction, learn to read and write.

The fact that most of the symptoms of true dyslexia are also common in people who do not have the condition leads to a misuse of the term.

True dyslexia affects from three to six percent of the population, but in some areas in the U.S., as many as 50% of fourth graders can’t read at grade level. Dyslexia is not the cause of this kind of reading failure. Ineffective instruction must take its share of the blame.

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