Researchers have been hard at work in trying to identify a single core deficit of dyslexia. For more than 3 decades, still, a single cause of this reading disability has not been agreed upon. However, the mainstream is faithful to the idea that the primary cause of dyslexia is a phonological disorder. Dyslexics may be said to have an impaired development of their phonological awareness.
Phonological awareness is an auditory skill. We know speech sound units (phonemes) because of the variety of language activities that help expose the listener to the sound structure of a language. Phonological awareness enables the listener to recognize, identify, and manipulate basic language sounds (phoneme segmentation, blending, and deletion).
It is typical for this type of awareness to develop well in advance of reading skills. Babies begin to develop phonological awareness as soon as they absorb and acquire the sounds of their native language. A child hears the sounds of words and attempts to repeat them as heard.
Another type of early phonological awareness is found in the ability to make rhymes. It is usual for rhyming skills to develop at around the age of 3 years. It is plain that children have a sense of sound well in advance of learning their letters and the sounds they make (phonics instruction). The brain picks up on variations in the different yet similar sounds we can hear in a rhyme through the neural (nerve) networks of the auditory cortex—a part of the brain that helps us to hear. The brain is able break the code (decode) of how these different sounds correspond to specific series of letters that make up rhyming language words.
Poor Phonological Awareness
In some children there is a difficulty in organizing the basic sound structures of language, which leads to poor phonological awareness. Thus, the stage is set for reading disabilities once the child starts reading and needs to put letters together with sounds. In most cases, the problem becomes noticeable, even striking, once a child begins first grade.
According to the school of thought that holds phonological deficits as the primary cause of dyslexia, a person with dyslexia may slowly learn to match a specific sound with a letter or group of letters. Matching a single sound to a letter or sounds to groups of letters in order to make sense of words is quite a difficult skill to master. For a person with dyslexia is either unable to make a sound that isn’t a word or thinks of a word as one single unit of sound. He or she doesn’t have the skill to grasp a word as a unit consisting of a single sound or syllable(s).
People with dyslexia find it hard to sound out new words or words they’ve never encountered before. This inability makes it a trial for them to develop fluid reading skills. The phonological-deficit model of dyslexia posits that dyslexia will occur with any language in which letter graphemes are made up to be associated with a sound phoneme or sounds.