This article focuses on applying the SERIOL model of orthographic processing to dyslexia. The model is extended to include a phonological route and reading acquisition. We propose that the temporal alignment of serial orthographic and phonological representations is a key aspect of learning to read, driving the formation of a phonemic encoding. The phonemic encoding and the serial representations are mutually reinforcing, leading to automatic, proficient processing of letter strings. A breakdown in any component of this system leads to the failure to form string‐specific phonological and visual representations, resulting in impaired reading ability.