You are right,Impulce, but some children take a long time to get necessary decoding skills to automaticity. This observation from an experienced remedial reading tutor strikes me as spot on : "I really have come to the conclusion that the reason some children do not progress is because we do not always practise until the skill is mastered ... Some kids need a huge amount of repetition to learn, and often we as teachers can't bear not to move on." Those children who aren't quick to master basic skills will often take the easy way out and guess. They are desperate to pick up clues from pictures, first letters, too insecure to use their decoding skills, too intimidated to even begin to engage with higher order skills. Marsha, it is sad to see you endlessly trotting out your 'bound to fail' mantra. There is a lot wrong with the pressure-cooked curriculum of which genre teaching is one of the most absurd manifestations.But if ITTs deigned to teach trainee teachers the alphabetic code, and rigorously taught teachers how to structure early reading ,and if the primary curriculum was freed from its ludicrous shackles there would be no failure, period. With a good phonics programme,Jolly Phonics,Read-Write,PhonicsInternational,Sound Reading System, for instance, and with properly designed decodable books and teachers who understand that some children just need more time - lots of time - why would there be failure? Well constructed decodable books have proved to be effective for children with IQs as low as 37 and have enabled children with multiple cognitive and physical difficulties and with a range of SEN attributes: Downs Syndrome, Williams Syndrome, Speech Problems, CP, ADHD, APD, and with EAL children as well as children on normal ability range to learn to read. See www.piperbooks.co.uk. And there is a range of decodable books such as Jelly and Bean which provide the sort of practice that many children need. Sorry Masha, the "problems" you erect can be subverted very skilfully through good synthetic phonics teaching; your approach follows the something-wrong-with-children-their feckless parents-the-English-language, rather than taking on board the understanding that the English written language is a CODE that needs structuring and teaching with patience. Teach the code expertly, give children time and they will learn - why would they fail?