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Dyslexia and reading difficulties - what's the difference?

Much like a spectrum, the boundary between dyslexia and “normal” reading abilities is not exactly clear-cut, which means that an individual with reading difficulties may not be classified as a dyslexic. 


If you picture a scale or continuum with dyslexia and normal reading skills at either end, reading difficulties would represent anything in between.

Dyslexia and reading difficulties - GoLexic

Dyslexia, on the other hand, has a more specialised definition, as it is primarily characterised by difficulties with phonological processing and reading fluency. It can therefore be understood as a type of reading difficulties, whereas not all reading difficulties can be classified as dyslexia. 

Defining reading difficulties and dyslexia

Reading difficulties, which are also referred to as ‘reading disabilities’ and ‘reading disorders’ are classified as a ‘specific learning disability’ or SpLD, and include any issues with phonological processing, reading comprehension, and reading fluency. 

Diagnosing dyslexia

Another difference is that dyslexia can be officially diagnosed, whereas most reading difficulties do not. This, however, does not mean that the issues and problems faced by people with reading difficulties do not exist. 

Support and intervention for dyslexics

Fortunately, both types of learning difficulties benefit from the same methods of remediation, therefore, we feel it is important to address both dyslexia and reading difficulties within the same conversation.

Most reading difficulties, including dyslexia, can be overcome. If you notice that your child is not reading well, and that they are not performing well at school in comparison to their peers, it would be worth it to discuss it with your child’s teachers as soon as possible. You can start supporting your child at home as well with the GoLexic App - our mission is to help children who struggle with reading to find confidence in their reading and spelling skills.


It’s also never too late to start intervention. The GoLexic App uses proven remediation methods to help children with reading difficulties improve their reading and spelling through a personalised programme. You can try it for free now, just download the iPad app from the iOS App Store for your free two week trial. 

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