Why is my readme.txt file not being read

when i choose "See details" of my plugin from the Dashboard > Plugins page, I get a blank description and no other tabs. I only have author and version on the right, which comes from the php file. It should be as easy as adding a properly formatted readme.txt to the root directory of a plugin, right? I have tried this. I have tried putting the default generated files in that location. I’ve tried putting readme files in there which I know work from other plugins. what gives? I’m sure there’s something simple I’m missing but I can’t figure out what it is. Google searches have not yielded any help so far. What are some possible culprits I can investigate?

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