Browse the Complete MCPER Library


Middle school students with dyslexia are challenged by increasingly complex text, greater word length, more advanced writing assignments, and unfamiliar content and vocabulary. Academic words in middle school texts are commonly three syllables or more, requiring more advanced decoding skills. As students encounter hundreds of new and unfamiliar words in science, social studies, English, and math, they are unable to “guess” at enough words to compensate for inadequate decoding skills. With the increased length and complexity of reading and writing tasks, students may struggle to fully understand and complete their assignments. Poor reading comprehension can lead to lack of motivation to read in school or for pleasure. This lack of reading experience and practice may in turn contribute to lower levels of knowledge and vocabulary, further hindering reading comprehension.

This resource describes an example student scenario and steps parents can take to help their middle schooler.


The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk. (2020). What dyslexia looks like in middle school and what you can do to help your child. Austin, TX: Author.

Related Institute

Published Date


Funding Source

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs


Literacy Instruction
Reading Instruction
Special Education/Learning Disabilities

Type of Resource



General Education Classroom Teacher
School Administrator
Special Education Teacher

Grade Level

Middle School