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Home > Events & Health Information > Diseases & Conditions > Learning & Behavioural Problems > Reading Difficulty

Reading Difficulty

About The Condition   Causes
Signs And Symptoms   Tips


What Is Reading Difficulty

Reading is not a simple process. It requires many different skills.


Some of these skills include:

  • Letter recognition
  • Word recognition
  • Knowledge of letter sound rules
  • Word comprehension


A child needs to learn all these skills to become a proficient reader. If your child has a problem with any of these skills, the learning progress will be slower.


Children’s reading difficulties come in various forms. It depends on which skill your child has difficulty with.


The consequence of falling behind in his or her studies may affect the child’s self-esteem. This can lead to reluctance to go to school or behaviour problems.


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Causes Of Reading Difficulty

There are a number of factors that can contribute to reading difficulties:

  • Dyslexia (a specific learning disability that may affect reading, spelling and writing)
  • Lack of appropriate literacy experiences at home
  • Difficulties with acquisition of essential pre-literacy skills during preschool years
  • Language impairment
  • Hearing impairment
  • Auditory processing disorder
  • Visual impairment
  • Attention issues


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Signs And Symptoms Of Reading Difficulty

  • Speaks later than most peers
  • Difficulties with pronunciation
  • Slow vocabulary growth; often unable to find the right word
  • Difficulty rhyming words
  • Trouble learning numbers, alphabets, days of the week, colours and shapes
  • Restless and easily distracted in class
  • Trouble interacting with peers
  • Excessively quiet in class despite being familiar with peers and teachers
  • Difficulty following directions or routines
  • Slow to develop fine motor skills


Source: LD OnLine


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Tips For Taking Care Of Children With Reading Difficulty

It is important to remember that all children learn differently and at different rates. Expose your child to reading at a young age and monitor your child’s reading milestones. If your child does not like a book, do not force him or her to finish it.


Here are some activities you can do with your child:

  • Expose your child to stories and books at an early age.
  • Let your child enjoy looking at pictures. Early reading comprehension relies on pictorial clues.
  • Read with your child daily.
  • Talk about what you are reading. Help your child to make connections between what is happening in the story and real-life situations.
  • Take your child to the library regularly.
  • Expose your child to a wide variety of literature such as comics, non-fiction and fiction.
  • Be aware of how your child is doing at school. Ask the teacher about your child’s progress.


Detecting problems early can help your child in school as reading and comprehension play a major role in all subjects.


Above all, make reading a fun activity for your child and the family.


Useful Links

  • LD OnLine


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Our Team

We have a team of paediatricians specialising in developmental and behavioural paediatrics, psychologists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, physiotherapists, learning support educators, nurses and social workers committed to providing holistic care for children with developmental, learning and behavioural difficulties.


Click here to find out more about our Division of Developmental and Behavioural Paediatrics.


The information provided on this page is meant purely for educational purposes and may not be used as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should seek the advice of your doctor or a qualified healthcare provider before starting any treatment or if you have any questions related to your child’s health, physical fitness or medical conditions.