Molecular genetic studies have suggested a reading disability (RD, dyslexia) susceptibility locus on chromosome 15q. We have previously mapped this locus by association to the region surrounding D15S994. Very little is known about the neurobiological processes involved in RD, and therefore selecting positional candidate genes for analysis based upon function is difficult. Nevertheless we were able to identify two functional candidates based upon existing hypotheses. Both were phospholipase genes, phospholipase C beta 2 (PLCB2) and phospholipase A2, group IVB (cytosolic; PLA2G4B). D15S944 is located within PLCB2 and is 1.6 Mb from PLA2G4B. We examined each gene for association using a mixed direct and indirect association approach, a case (n = 164)/control (n = 174) sample, and a partially overlapping sample of 178 RD parent-proband trios from South Wales and England. Mutation analysis revealed 14 sequence variants in PLCB2 and 33 variants in PLA2G4B. All non-synonymous SNPs were genotyped as were SNPs across each gene with maximum distance between SNPs of 6 kb. Case-control analyses revealed modest evidence (0.01 < P < 0.05) for association between a single variant in PLCB2 and two variants in PLA2G4B. However, association was not confirmed in the family based sample. As the latter sample has previously generated replicated significant evidence for association between RD and markers/haplotypes surrounding D15S944, it should have sufficient power to detect association to variants in susceptibility gene itself. We conclude that neither gene accounts for the association signal we previously observed. As these are the only clear cut functional candidate genes in the region, identification of the putative susceptibility locus for RD on 15q will require more methodical non-hypothesis driven positional cloning approaches.