Addressing the sensitive issue of difficulties in literacy development this practical book outlines what is meant by 'literacy' and the barriers to literacy development such as social class, ethnicity, culture and gender. It emphasises practical strategies and programmes to help reduce these barriers at school, family and community levels. Throughout, the highly qualified team of authors relate cognitive, psychological, and socio-cultural perspectives to current curriculum policies, controversies and ethical considerations. This book enables practitioners to reflect critically upon the choices available to them in assessing and supporting students who experience difficulties in literacy development. Topics covered include a thorough consideration of dyslexia, bilingualism, the conceptualising of literacy, equity issues, and suggestions for assessment and planning for pupils. This is essential reading for students on initial teacher training courses and teachers on CPD courses in the area of special needs, literacy and dyslexia. It is also a companion course guide for the Open University's new Difficulties in Literacy Development course.