Reading Development and Disability module (PY50404)

Explore neurodiversity in the context of learning to read.

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Module code


Although most children find it relatively easy to learn to read, reading draws upon a large set of underlying cognitive abilities, creating many points at which the process can break down.

This module offers an analysis of theories about reading development, which will be accompanied by the latest research on how this process can be disrupted in developmental dyslexia using evidence from biological, cognitive, and behavioural approaches.

Topics covered in the module include:

  • phases of reading development
  • cognitive components of reading
  • definition and diagnosis of dyslexia
  • cognitive neuroscience of reading and dyslexia
  • compensation and intervention in dyslexia

What you will learn

In this module you will:

  • learn how findings from neuroscience, cognitive, and linguistic research inform our understanding of reading development
  • extend your knowledge of theories about how we learn to read
  • explore the implications of research for practical educational questions like the definition, assessment, and treatment of dyslexia
  • learn about the controversies that divide opinions in this field

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • write and speak in a well-informed way about the typical sequence of reading development
  • demonstrate a critical understanding of the characteristics and causes of reading difficulties
  • critically evaluate the design of empirical studies in this research area
  • make evidence-based recommendations about interventions for dyslexia

Assignments / assessment

  • essay 2,500 words (50%)
  • essay 2,500 words (50%)

This module does not have a final exam.

Teaching methods / timetable

This module will be delivered through lectures, seminars, and student-led discussions. You will be expected to read before sessions for a high level of engagement.

Small-group or individual tutorials will support coursework essay writing.


This module is available on following courses: