Dyslexia and Word Skipping

In the previous post, I discussed one of the ways that dyslexia tutoring addresses a dyslexic child’s difficulty with lowercase “b”, “d” and “q”. Another common symptom that dyslexia tutors see on a regular basis is the skipping of words when a student is reading. Word skipping is very common for dyslexics, and the symptom can manifest itself in various ways.

A severely dyslexic student may have a very difficult time even noticing that they are skipping words. For example, they may read a sentence like “Jack went down to the store yesterday,” as “Jack went the store yesterday.” Now, to a listener who hears this sentence read aloud, it will clearly sound like there is something wrong. However, for a dyslexic who is reading this sentence aloud, it may sound perfectly normal.

Word skipping is something that dyslexia tutors work to improve with their dyslexic students. In the last part of every session I tutor, I have my students read aloud to me, and this is one of the things that I watch for. If a student skips a word when reading a sentence, I will have them read the sentence over again slowly. If they miss the word again, I often have them read it again while thinking about the meaning of the words while they are saying them. Often, with many of my students, this is enough to get them to catch their mistake and to correct it.

While word skipping is a very common symptom of dyslexia, it does not always indicate that the student is not understanding what they read. A good friend of mine, who has been a dyslexia tutor for fifteen years, had a student who was regularly skipping words when she read. The student’s ability to read all the words in a sentence did improve as she received tutoring, but even after she had made a lot of progress, skipping words was still an issue when she read aloud. My friend, the dyslexia tutor, was curious, and started quizzing the student on the content of what she had read. As it turned out, even in paragraphs where the student was skipping words, she was understanding the content of what she read quite well. In her case, this indicated that reading aloud itself was a hurdle that was causing her some difficulties.


6 thoughts on “Dyslexia and Word Skipping”

  1. Is this the same as proofing and missing words or inserting words that are not there? This has been a struggle at times during my adult life.

  2. Alicia DeCristofaro

    Thank you so much for writing this. I am an adult who struggles with word skipping and it really has had a strong impact on my life. Reading this calms my nervous system and allows me to have compassion for myself and the mistakes I have made.

    thank you ,

  3. I have just become aware of the term “vision crowding” in dyslexics. It is a visual phenomenon correlated with reading speed. Basically its seeing less when more is presented. Ex. When a word is presented in a sentence, the additional visual stimulai to the left and right of the target (in the periphery) interferes with the perception of the word. I’ve read this in Mathers and Wendling’s book: Essentials of Dyslexia Assessment and Intervention. P. 96. I’m not saying this is the cause in every student, just that it is another avenue to explore. Some research has involved creating text that spaces letters and words more, to see if it helps the reader. I found mixed reviews; one said it helped another said it didn’t. I’m still seeking answers for remediation. I’d be interested to hear if someone is familiar with this.

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