McGuinness offers the casual reader, as well as the professional, valuable insights into the nature of the acquisition of literacy, dispelling the anachronistic remainders of learning deficit theory (notably dyslexia), and proposing a structure of learning based upon the logic of the available and largely consistent English-language spelling patterns. The details of her analysis genuinely surpass those of the modern theorists whose views continue to hold sway in British education (Frith, Goodman, etc.), and can be used by reflective practitioners to give much-needed meaning to the word-level objectives stipulated by the National Literacy Strategy. The gulf between received curricular ideas and the mechanisms of learning is apparent after reading this book. A superb achievement, and invaluable reading.