This study focuses on teachers’ opportunities and obstacles to perform skillful reading and writing instruction. It’s about the ability to accurately identify where students are in their reading and writing process and to help them develop good reading skills. It is also about the ability to recognize signs of difficulties that students may have in their written language development and to know what efforts are needed to help them advance their reading and writing skills. The research is based on teachers’ own statements and survey responses on the external conditions for teaching and on their approach, attitudes and knowledge in reading and writing. The empirical material consists of interviews, surveys and test data. The interview study was conducted with eight teachers. The questionnaire was answered by 249 teachers, while the knowledge test was conducted of 269 teachers and 31 special education teachers. Many of the teachers in this study have lack knowledge in the structure of language and common Swedish spelling rules. Furthermore, it appears that a large part of them are unaccustomed to explaining, in detail, students’ reading development and find it difficult to systematically describe the aspects of daily literacy instruction. The overall picture is that many teachers teach without having tools to reflect on how their education really affects students’ reading and writing. These shortcomings make it difficult to conduct effective literacy instruction. Once students have learned to decode or if they have reading difficulties, many teachers seem to one-sidedly focus on getting students to read more. The consequence could be that those who would need to practice more on the technical basic of reading or comprehension strategies are left without support. Lack of variety and individuality in fluency and comprehension training can challenge the students’ reading and writing development. The teachers in the study, who have the old junior school teacher and elementary teacher education, have the highest amount of knowledge of reading and writing (the test). Good education can provide student teachers with professional skills that they may develop further in their careers. Knowledge of the meaning of phonological and phonemic awareness as well as knowledge of how to count phonemes seem to be important for knowledge of reading and writing (the test). Knowledge of basic reading processes can be obtained by systematic and structured work with students’ linguistic development, and through continuous dialogues with experienced colleagues on how and why questions. This is one important way to work also in teacher training. When essential professional skills are established in the teacher education, in practice students will obtain the school’s learning goals.