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Learning Disability (Reading)

Students diagnosed with a learning disability in reading have difficulty recognizing, decoding, or comprehending written words.
A person with a learning disability in reading may have difficulty connecting sounds with the letters that represent them. This difficulty may manifest during silent reading or when reading aloud. A learning disability in reading often affects all areas of a person's educational experience because much educational content is transmitted through text.

Observing Learning Disability (Reading) in the Classroom

Faculty might observe the following characteristics in students with a learning disability in reading:

  • May be reluctant to read out loud in class
  • May read at a slower pace than peers
  • May have difficulty with pronunciation of unfamiliar words
  • May have difficulty summarizing text
  • May rely entirely on auditory information from class
  • May have difficulty organizing or synthesizing information from text
  • May demonstrate poor comprehension of written materials


Related Functional Characteristics

Fatigue (Cognitive) : Students with learning disabilities in reading experience cognitive fatigue as a result of the need to employ strategies to facilitate learning as they process information.

Flicker or Pattern Sensitivity : Repetitive patterns or flickering may cause visual perceptual problems for students with learning disabilities in reading.

Information Processing Speed : The rapid processing of words and meaning are critical to the comprehension of text.

Long Term Memory Deficit : Students with learning disabilities in reading may have difficulty retrieving information from long term memory making reading comprehension difficult or more laborious.

Processing Deficit (Auditory) : When auditory information is not accurately processed, reading becomes more difficult as students cannot connect the spoken word with the written word.

Processing Deficit (Language) : Difficulties with accurate or fluent word recognition and decoding may significantly slow down a student's ability to read and comprehend text.

Processing Deficit (Visual) : Students with learning disabilities in reading with visual processing deficits will struggle with unfamiliar text, fonts, or text with figures.

Visual Tracking Problem : Students with learning disabilities in reading may experience problems with following text across the page.

Working / Short Term Memory Deficit : A reader must decode and recognize words while remembering what has been already read in order to comprehend text which is made difficult with reduced working memory capacity.

The Building Accepting Campus Communities (BACC) project was funded by the US Department of Education Office of Secondary Education grant #P333A080070-09. The University of Nebraska does not discriminate based on gender, age, disability, race, color, religion, marital status, veteran's status, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.