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When is a child done with phonics and spelling?

Annie Laurie

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For both of my girls, phonics will be complete half way through first grade. That's when each finished (or will finish soon) Phonics Pathways. They can both read most anything at that point. My first grader would love to quit now because she can read it all easily, but I'm making her finish the book.


I'm expecting spelling to morph into vocabulary, but haven't hit that point yet. Maybe it will be next year (5th grade for older dd), but 6th is probably more likely. Maybe even 7th. I'll look at what's coming up in the R&S spelling books and stick with it if I like it or switch to vocab if I think it's not necessary.

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I remember having spelling test up through 10th grade (one of our spelling words that year was sophomore)...

Not that I can see doing regular spelling instruction for that long with my kids. I expect to do spelling up through 3rd grade (dd is in 3rd grade this year), and then just cover words as needed. If I end up having a kid who is not a natural speller, we'll keep up the spelling as long as it's beneficial.


I stop doing direct phonics instruction when they are able to read short chapter books. With my 2 so far, I have gotten about 2/3 of the way through 100 EZ Lessons, then I continue to have them read aloud to me with phonetically-controlled books. When dd progressed to Magic Tree House books, she started to become a fluent reader, and I just let her go--I could tell that she could read most of the words she encountered and she no longer reads out loud to me.

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