Understanding php programming

I'M reading a book on PHP 5 programming. I just finished a chapter 3 that ended with a rather simple game but code that was less that simple. Now, I may be able to figure out how it works by reading the books explanation and studying the code line by line very VERY slowly. But how do people get to where they and just read and write this stuff. Is my confusion normal? Like I said, I might could read this out a slowly figure out what's going on, but I couldn't turn around tomorrow and write another program like that without a LOT of help. There were four or five functions and some of them were intertwined. Is it just me? Am I not meant to be a programmer?
Also, I think I might stand a better change if I were taught how to write programs before I actually start writing the programs. As in planing it out. How many variables do I need, what should I make into functions and how many functions will I need. That type of thing. I've never read a programming book that taught the potential programmer to think like that. Some might have mentioned it, but they still just gave me the code and a less than satisfactory explanation at the end of the program code. Thanks for any and all reply's.
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