The ‘accessibility’ list from exam boards regarding their language use for GCSE exams is an excellent example of both how we can mediate reading barriers, but also understand what makes texts difficult. An important insight for teachers is the knowledge that many pupils are simply not strategic readers in the face of such barriers. When faced with difficult words or complex sentence structures, they may not bring enough awareness about how to tackle barriers to their understanding. Phillip’s story shares a raw truth regarding the enduring impact of severe reading barriers. In the face of a potentially crippling inability to access the school curriculum, along with the emotional and motivational damage this can elicit, there is understandably a desire to lessen the stigma around struggling readers. For many pupils, the reading barrier associated with dyslexia – the inability to read words accurately and fluently – is an inadequate explanation for their struggles reading in the classroom.