Dear Dr. Sylvia

Boy is Slow to Read, Unlike Older Brothers

November, 2013



I have a 7-year-old son who is not reading yet. He has five older brothers in gifted programs; and, aside from reading, he’s up to par with them when they were age 7. Do I wait until he reads well to have him undergo IQ testing?



AAlthough very bright children are often early readers, there are many who read late and some who may have reading disabilities. The most famous late reader was Albert Einstein. History indicates he was barely reading in third grade.

It’s difficult to determine at your son’s age, even with testing, whether he has a disability or is merely a late starter. However, if you wait longer to have him tested, you lose important teaching time for him. It’s best to arrange for school or clinical testing immediately so the appropriate tutoring can be provided as soon as possible. He may catch up rapidly or have a slow time ahead; but either way, testing will help you provide him with the best opportunities possible.

Read aloud to him daily so that he learns to love books. Also, most libraries have many audiobooks for children. Reading along while listening to a book can help improve your son’s reading skills, as well as his love of reading.

Dr Sylvia RimmDr. Sylvia Rimm is a child psychologist and clinical professor at Case University School of Medicine, author, newspaper and magazine columnist, and radio/TV personality. For a free newsletter about reading disabilities, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to P.O. Box 32, Watertown, WI, 53094. Read Dr. Rimm’s articles on this topic and submit questions online at All questions are answered.

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