The Symposium on Understanding Literacy and Cognition convened at the University of Saskatchewan in late 1987 had as its aim a “philosophical or other friendly discussion” of the related topics. From the different papers presented and the serious (at times jovial) exchanges of ideas that followed during the several days of the meeting, it was evident the above aim was achieved. The insightful and critical summation at the end of the Symposium by the keynote speaker, David R. Olson, bears testimony to the varied attempts at unravelling the intricacies of the theme of literacy and cognition. This daunting task is made slightly easier with the addition of several chapters. To all our authors, we are grateful for their contributions.