Dyslexia is a complex learning disorder that impairs the acquisition of reading and writing skills. The manifestation of dyslexia in an individual depends not only upon individual cognitive differences, but also on the language used. We are engaged in a long-term study on the early assessment and remediation of dyslexia in children in Kerala State, South India, where Malayalam is spoken at home and English and Malayalam are taught in school. We have designed bilingual MalayalamEnglish dyslexia screening tests and have administered them in schools in Kerala. This paper reports on a study where our screening test was administered to 39 second-grade students in three Government schools, and spelling errors in dictation and text-copying tasks were classified as phonological and orthographic errors. Despite the transparent orthography of Malayalam, poor readers made more spelling errors in Malayalam than English, possibly due to the large number of intricate letters and letter combinations in the Malayalam alphabet. We therefore suggest that a dyslexic child be drilled in the use of a few frequently occurring letters, especially in the initial stages of learning to read Malayalam.
Mithun Haridas, Vasudevan, N., G Nair, J., Gutjahr, G., Raghu Raman, and Prof. Prema Nedungadi, “Spelling Errors by Normal and Poor Readers in a Bilingual Malayalam-English Dyslexia Screening Test”, in IEEE 18th International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT), 2018.