Dyslexia Information

In alignment with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), Douglas County School District (DCSD) is committed to providing an instructional framework to support each student in the complex process of learning to read.

Along with the CDE, DCSD is committed to:

  • Bringing together stakeholders interested in supporting students who struggle with reading including those with dyslexia.
  • Educating stakeholders on reading difficulties including dyslexia.
  • Strengthening relationships with and among stakeholders interested in early literacy.

Please contact the principal at your child’s school for more information about literacy instruction, assessment, and interventions.

What is Dyslexia?

The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) along with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) adopted the following definition of dyslexia.

“Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”

The Colorado Department of Education 2018

Dyslexia is not a disease; it has no cure. Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects one’s ability to easily process written and/or verbal language. It is the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties. Furthermore, it affects males and females nearly equally, as well as people from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Dyslexia results from differences in the structure and function of the brain. This neurological difference causes individuals with dyslexia to learn differently. The problem is not behavioral, psychological, motivational, or social. It is not a problem of vision; people with dyslexia do not “see backward.”

IDA- Rocky Mountain Branch

Common Characteristics of Dyslexia

Most people may have a few of these characteristics; however, this does not mean that everyone has dyslexia. If a person demonstrates several characteristics that persist over time and interfere with learning he/she may have dyslexia. The following are common characteristics by grade level. Please see the IDA Dyslexia Handbook: What Every Family Should Know …for more detailed information:

For the past 6 months my child has had difficulty:

Pre-K- grade 2:

  • learning the alphabet, numbers, and days of the week
  • rhyming words
  • learning and correctly using new vocabulary words
  • pronouncing words correctly
  • learning to read as expected
  • decoding words
  • learning to copy and write at an age appropriate level
  • using fine motor skills compared to age peers
  • associating letters with sounds
  • remembering facts

Grades 3 - 8:

  • speaking with precise, accurate language, proper grammar, and varied vocabulary
  • distinguishing between words that sound similar
  • rhyming
  • recognizing sight words
  • reading age appropriate content with good fluency
  • spelling the same words consistently and correctly
  • writing letters, numbers, and symbols in correct order
  • expressing ideas in an organized way
  • listening and taking notes
  • writing with legible handwriting (awkward pencil grip)
  • remembering facts and numbers
  • solving word problems in math


  • speaking fluently and precisely using a rich vocabulary
  • understanding directions
  • reading with speed and accuracy for one’s expected grade level/age
  • spelling accurately and consistently
  • expressing ideas in a logical, organized way
  • summarizing and outlining
  • answering open ended questions
  • learning a new language

Gibbs, D. P., Ed.D. (2017). Rising to Dyslexia Challenges Through Multi-Tiered Systems of Support: A Handbook for Schools. Palm Beach Gardens, FL: LRP Publications.

Dyslexia in the Classroom: What Every Teacher Needs to Know [PDF]. (2017). Baltimore, MD: International Dyslexia Association.