In Singapore, dyslexia is largely diagnosed based on the learner’s performance in English.

But this focus on English-related dyslexia means that Chinese dyslexia is often overlooked — despite how common this form of dyslexia is among Singaporean students. According to child development expert Dr Lim Hong Huay, Chinese dyslexia is so common that 4–10% of learners experience the condition. 

While children with Chinese dyslexia can flourish in mainstream schools, they need extra help to overcome their learning challenges. Unfortunately, most Singaporean schools are ill-equipped to teach children with dyslexia — as this University of London study shows

At Thomson Kids, we offer tailored programmes that unlock the learning potential of children with Chinese dyslexia. Here, we explore what makes our programme so unique and effective. But to understand our approach, we must first unpack what it means to have dyslexia in Chinese.  

How is dyslexia in Chinese different from dyslexia in English?

Children with dyslexia struggle to decode words, leading to difficulties with spelling and writing sentences. That said, dyslexia manifests differently from one language to another. Children with dyslexia in the Chinese language, for instance, may experience no difficulties using English. 

As a neurological study published in Current Biology shows, dyslexia results from how different languages are structured. English dyslexia learning challenges, for example, are related to a child’s ability to process letter combinations. This stems from the fact that English is structured as an alphabetic and atonal system. 

Conversely, people with dyslexia in Chinese have problems matching sounds and symbols. These challenges relate to the structure of Chinese as a tonal system where symbols represent either a whole word or a part of a word. Common signs of Chinese dyslexia include:

  • Trouble writing strokes correctly
  • Mixing up words that sound similar
  • Mixing up words that look similar
  • Not writing characters in their correct size
  • Writing characters in the wrong order

How Thomson Kids helps children with Chinese dyslexia

As teaching for Chinese and English dyslexia means targeting different learning challenges, the same interventions will not work for both languages. This is why we’ve developed a specialised programme for children with Chinese dyslexia

The first goal of our programme is to instil a passion for learning Chinese. To do so, our team of child psychologists, curriculum writers and special needs teachers work closely to develop a curriculum that is relevant to each student. As we create our own lessons, we’re able to adapt our focus to the needs of each child and to contextualise lessons with everyday situations. 

But inspiring engagement is only one aspect of our approach. Our teaching methodology also includes:


  • Structured literacy — from mastering basic strokes to learning word recognition strategies, our structured approach gives students a solid foundation of the core skills they need to excel when speaking, writing or reading Chinese.


  • Bite-sized learning — through bite-sized learning, we teach small, manageable chunks of information at a time. This helps students maintain focus while encouraging active involvement in the learning process. This approach helps students progress through lessons without feeling overloaded.


  • Tailored learning — we all learn differently. This is why we tailor our lessons to help students with dyslexia achieve their specific learning goals depending on where they are in their journey. 


  • Teaching to improve exam skills — we give students the skills and answering techniques required to tackle all components of Chinese language examinations.

Overcoming Chinese Dyslexia

If your child has dyslexia in the Chinese language, then finding the right learning intervention is crucial to unlocking their potential. 

At Thomson Kids, we offer specialised programmes that support children in overcoming their learning challenges. 


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