I concluded my last comment on an Early years thread with the question, Why is it so difficult to acknowledge that English spelling is a mixture of sensible spellings and absolutely insane ones ( www.EnglishSpellingProblems.co.uk ), and then have sensible discussions about how best to help children cope with the ones that cause reading and spelling problems? Perhaps this is something that all primary teachers might like to mull over occasionally? In that EY post I also said: I don't think that anybody with a smidgeon of intelligence would seriously argue that literacy teaching should not begin with phonics (in the sense of teaching the main sounds of English graphemes for roughly the first year of instruction). Nor can I see how children can learn the rudiments of writing without phonics. It is clearly also far better to help children with learning to read - rather than just give them books and expect them to learn by themselves (although some manage to do so). It's the wild claims that the promoters of phonics courses now make about SP and their particular wares that are ridiculous.