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Difficulties in literacy development

This module takes an interdisciplinary approach to the acquisition of literacy and views it as a complex and multi-faceted process. You will explore issues, debates and pedagogical approaches from various socio-cultural and cognitive perspectives that you can relate to your own professional context and practice. The module will help educational professionals and teachers working in a range of educational contexts to consider appropriate pedagogical and curriculum responses to the needs of children, and to adults who experience difficulties in literacy development or related issues in equity, diversity and social justice. It is also particularly suited to supporting learners interested in dyslexia assessment and teaching.


Start End England fee Register
10 Oct 2015 Oct 2016 £1416.00

Registration closes 17/09/15 (places subject to availability)

Click to register
This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.

What you will study

The module is organised in four parts:

Part 1 What is literacy? What are literacy difficulties?

Part 2 Addressing equity issues in relation to literacy difficulties

Part 3 Dyslexia: explanations and responses

Part 4 Assessing and teaching for students who experience difficulties in literacy development.

This module will be useful for teachers, adult educators and other educational professionals addressing literacy problems. Examples in the study materials are drawn from pre-school, primary and secondary schooling and adult education. The module takes an interdisciplinary approach and explores theories of literacy difficulties and practical strategies that can be used with adults as well as children.

The module can also lead to accreditation by the British Dyslexia Association (BDA). There is an additional fee of £975 for students who wish to be assessed for this accreditation. For further information, please see our website.


This module can only be studied as part of a qualification (see below for the relevant qualifications).

You must hold a bachelors degree from a UK university or other recognised degree-awarding body, or a qualification at equivalent level.

The module is taught in English, and your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you seek assessment under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see their website for details.

This module is for experienced teachers and other professionals working in educational settings, and you must be working in an educational institution, or have very close access to one. If you intend to apply for accreditation of your work by the BDA you must be a qualified teacher (with at least two years of teaching and support experience) in order to obtain Associate Membership of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA). If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.


E801 is an optional module in our:

E801 is one of the modules you can select if you want to name your degree MA in Education (Equality and Diversity) or Master of Education (Equality and Diversity).

Some postgraduate qualifications allow study to be chosen from other subject areas. We advise you to refer to the relevant qualification descriptions for information on the circumstances in which this module can count towards these qualifications because from time to time the structure and requirements may change.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts are available for the audio-visual material.  

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.

Study materials

What's included

Study Guide, audio CDs, DVD, supplementary materials (presented online), online forums, dedicated website.

You will need

Audio CD and DVD players.

You will need access to learners (of any age) who experience difficulties in literacy development in order to carry out the assignments. You will also need access to published up-to-date screening, standardised and diagnostic tests of reading and spelling and, if you intend to apply for accreditation from the British Dyslexia Association, to published screening and diagnostic dyslexia tests.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as the study materials and activities are accessible via a web browser. Any other computer-based activities you will need to carry out, such as word processing, using spreadsheets, taking part in online forums, and submitting files to the university for assessment, are specified in the module materials. If any additional software is needed for these tasks it will either be provided or is freely available.

We recommend either of the following:

  • Windows desktop or laptop computer running Windows 7 or later operating system
  • Macintosh desktop or laptop computer running OS X 10.7 or later operating system.

A netbook, tablet, smartphone or Linux computer that supports one of the browsers listed below may be suitable. The screen size should be at least 1024 (H) x 768 (W) pixels. If you intend to use one of these devices please ensure you have access to a suitable desktop or laptop computer in case you are unable to carry out all the module activities on your mobile device.

We recommend a minimum 1 Mbps internet connection and any of the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 9 and above
  • Apple Safari 7 and above
  • Google Chrome 31 and above
  • Mozilla Firefox 31 and above.

Note: using the latest version for your browser will maximise security when accessing the internet. Using company or library computers may prevent you accessing some internet materials or installing additional software.

See our Skills for OU study website for further information about computing skills for study and educational deals for buying Microsoft Office software.

Materials to buy

Set books

  • Reid, G. Dyslexia: A Practitioner's Handbook (4th edn) Wiley £32.99 - ISBN 9780470760406

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. You can contact your tutor by email and participate in online group discussions and activities. There are face-to-face group tutorials that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where tutorials are held depends on the distribution of students taking E801. 

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

Your end-of-module assessment (EMA) must be submitted electronically.

Students also studied

Students who studied this course also studied at some time:

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2015. We expect it to be available once a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Distance learning

The Open University is the world's leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you're at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you'll be supported throughout your studies - your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information about distance learning at the OU read Study explained.

Course facts
About this course:
Course code E801
Credits 60
OU Level Postgraduate
SCQF level 11
FHEQ level 7
Course work includes:
4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Student Reviews

“This module was full on from start to finish. The course material was interesting and engaging. It was also helped...”
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“E801 is a very innovative course as it takes an interdisciplinary view of literacy difficulties. As is appropriate for a...”
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“This course demands a lot from anyone undertaking it. It has a lot of reading and much of this is...”
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“This is a Masters course and involves reading at a Masters level. In response to this comment the module team...”
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