We report a rare case of a patient unable to read (alexic) and write (agraphic) after a mild head injury. He had preserved speech and comprehension, could spell aloud, identify words spelt aloud and copy letter features. He was unable to visualise letters but showed no problems with digits. Neuropsychological testing revealed general visual memory, processing speed and imaging deficits. Imaging data revealed an 8 mm colloid cyst of the third ventricle that splayed the fornix. Little is known about functions mediated by fornical connectivity, but this region is thought to contribute to memory recall. Other regions thought to mediate letter recognition and letter imagery, visual word form area and visual pathways were intact. We remediated reading and writing by multimodal letter retraining. The study raises issues about the neural substrates of reading, role of fornical tracts to selective memory in the absence of other pathology, and effective remediation strategies for selective functional deficits.