Reading problems and dysxlexia

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reading difficultyOne of the most important keystones in Europe 2020 strategy is delivering a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth through more effective investments in education, research and innovation. Thus, the Commission targets for 2020, consider among the others, the share of early school leavers should be under 10% and at least 40% of the younger generation should have a tertiary degree. In addition, the EU targets to cut back the percentage of dyslexic readers below 20% by 2020. Given the fact that 20 years ago the dyslexic population in EU was below 5% and that a dyslexic reader costs 5-10 times more in the educational system than a normal reader it is of paramount importance to expose to the scientific community the magnitude of the problem and provide tools to address it efficiently and effectively.


Since education is a strong prerequisite for economic growth all member states should cooperate in promoting efforts made in order to improve and enhance the effectiveness of learning methods provided to students. In addition, they should suggest and determine policies and educational systems that will support educators and teachers to deliver better, more productive and efficient services. Thus, besides the diversification of contexts, through targeted customized learning the proposed project promotes the effectiveness and innovation of educational and training systems in Europe. The Europe 2020 strategy clearly acknowledges such a reconciliation putting sustainable development at the core of the coming policy agenda and, among other priorities, recognizes the role of social innovation.


Unfortunately, many children struggle with reading. Difficulties reading are commonplace. The 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Reading Report Card shows that 69% of the 4th graders in this country do not read proficiently and 36% could not even read at a basic level. Even many of the much more optimistic individual state testing results commonly show 40% failure rates. The adult literacy data shows 50% of the adults in this country are in the lowest literacy levels 1 and 2 that lack necessary literacy skills to find and keep decent jobs. The bottom line is reading difficulties are commonplace. The most common reading difficulty is dyslexia.


The word “dyslexia” comes from the Greek dys-, broadly denoting difficultly or inadequacy, and lexis, meaning word. A number of terms have been used to describe dyslexia. In the psychiatric classifications ICD–10 (World Health Organization 1992) and DSM–IV (American Psychiatric Association 1994) it is called ‘reading disorder’. In ICD–10, this is classified under ‘Specific developmental disorders of scholastic skills’; in DSM–IV, it comes under ‘Learning disorders’. In the UK, the word dyslexia has not been popular in educational services (where it is most commonly encountered), and the term ‘specific learning difficulties’ is used in preference. Psychologists, who have carried out most research in this area, also tend to use the latter term. Other descriptions include ‘specific reading disability’, ‘reading disability’ and ‘reading retardation’.