Sorting Sounds: Reading Disability with Phonological Awareness Deficit

  • Robert F. Newby


As Angie's father was reading to her one evening near the end of junior kindergarten, he paused in the story to play a game with her of matching letters to their sounds. Angie had been slow in learning to recognize printed letters earlier that year, and he thought it would be good to practice some more advanced alphabet skills now. He was dismayed to discover during the game that she was bafflingly inconsistent at recognizing even the/a/sound that began her own name. Had Angie's teacher not commented recently that the class was working on this for the past several weeks?

After bedtime, Angie's father called his sister, who was a reading specialist in the next town. “Classic sign,” she burst out immediately, “particularly since Angie has talked up a storm since the first words came out of her mouth!” Classic sign of what? How could Angie's aunt detect something with such clarity after her dad's brief phone description? In fact, her aunt was right: Angie turned out to have a classic case of emerging word reading disability, and catching it early was a good thing.


Reading Comprehension Phonological Awareness Reading Disability Phonological Processing Phonemic Awareness 


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Resources for Clinicians

  1. Adams, M. J., Foorman, B. R., Lundberg, I., & Beeler, T. (1998). Phonemic awareness in young children: A classroom curriculum. Baltimore, MD: P. H. Brooks Publishing.Google Scholar
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Resources for Families

  1. International Dyslexia Association, LD OnLine,
  2. Shaywitz, S. E. (2003). Overcoming dyslexia: A new and complete science-based program for reading problems at any level. New York: A. A. Knopf.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert F. Newby
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Neurology and PediatricsMedical College of WisconsinMilwaukee

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