Contrast thresholds for sine-wave gratings of spatial frequencies of 2, 4, 12, and 16 cycles per degree were determined for normal and disabled readers at a range of stimulus durations. Normal readers demonstrated monotonically decreasing sensitivity with increasing spatial frequency at exposure durations between 40 and 100 milliseconds. At exposure durations of 150 to 1000 milliseconds, they showed peak sensitivity at 4 cycles per degree. In comparison, disabled readers showed monotonically decreasing sensitivity with increasing spatial frequency at all stimulus durations. The difference in sensitivity pattern across spatial frequencies was greatest at stimulus durations approximately equal to fixation durations during reading.