As a first year first grade teacher, one of my concerns was I don't think of myself as the best teacher of phonics. I've mostly worked with older students, so I had this great fear that, in their most important, critical reading developmental stage, I might screw them up or impede their progress. I learned the rules of how to read, but forgot about them over time. In the beginning of the school year my kids were given a phonics survey. Few knew the silent e rule. Right now, we're going through the silent e rule, and they're getting it! I'm impressed by how quickly they've picked it up. Also, in researching the various phonics rules, I'm reminded of lessons from long ago. I feel more confident in this area, even though I know I don't have all the answers, unlike some of my 20+ year teacher friends who seems to know every last sound in every word given. It's really neat to see the kids learn how to read more! On a side note, how concerned should I be with spelling? Is their ability to read more important at this stage than their ability to spell? Obviously, having both would be nice. One of my students keeps spelling "was" as "whus." He thinks he hears the "wh" sound in "was." It's just one of those funky sight words one has to learn/memorize. Ah, English... Anyway, it's a relief to know my kids are reading more It's so cool seeing them get the silent e rule, because that opens up so many more words they can decode. I tell them the classic line "when two vowels go walking, the first does the talking and the second goes to sleep." It's a classic for a reason. Kids love the image!