The relationship between brain activity and reading performance was examined to test the hypothesis that dyslexia involves a deficit in a specific visual pathway known as the magnocellular (M) pathway. Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to measure brain activity in dyslexic and control subjects in conditions designed to preferentially stimulate the M pathway. Dyslexics showed reduced activity compared with controls both in the primary visual cortex and in a secondary cortical visual area (MT+) that is believed to receive a strong M pathway input. Most importantly, significant correlations were found between individual differences in reading rate and brain activity. These results support the hypothesis for an M pathway abnormality in dyslexia and imply a strong relationship between the integrity of the M pathway and reading ability.