Well that was a touch tongue in cheek, as was my comment about starting a whole new argument . However, there does seeem to be a school of thought that believes that children are like empty vessels and that all we have to do is pour in the right stuff. Therefore, armed with all the research about SP, we set about the task of teaching reading and make jolly sure we do not deviate in any way from the path. But, because children are children there is a communication gap between what we teach and what they learn, and sometimes they misunderstand and sometimes they find out things for themselves, sometimes they switch off and don't listen, sometimes they take things too literally. Which adds up to a lot of unknowns in the teaching and learning process. Childen's participation in this process makes it an imprecise science (as does teaching style and teacher personality, environment, characteristics of the class and lots of other variables). So what I'm saying is that it is a mistake to think that children will always use SP correctly and successfully and will not use their own, other methods, just because that is the single line the teacher has taken. Children may well find their own methods, picked up along the way, work for them. I'm thinking, in particular, of children who sound out words carefully but without noticing digraphs and therefore make a mess of it (eg fat her), and then at the end suddenly produce the correct word. Am I the only one who has had that experience? Does synthetic phonics teach children to read for meaning?