Phonics Tutor or After School Program (1st Grader)

I'm seeking a phonic tutor or tutoring program for my first grader.

My daughter is a very bright first grader who is a self-taught reader. She was reading on her own before she started kindergarten. She is currently reading a grade level ahead, will sit down and read on her own and asks mom/dad to read to her.

Her challenge is with spelling and writing. She is not interested in "invented spelling", and she wants to write exactly how she reads.

I'm looking for a tutor who can work with her on phonics skills in regards to spelling and writing. I believe this methodology will give her the skills needed to write as she won't engage in invented spelling. She's frustrated because she's asked to write long journal entries, she doesn't want to use invented spelling but doesn't have another tool in her toolbox to help her.

Background: she attends a very reputable private school, that we love very much and is known for being academically challenging, but is still using Lucy Calkins "Writer's Workshop" without any phonics instruction. I believe this may change soon, the school is both responsive and agile, and I know the English Language curriculum is being reviewed this year. However, waiting for the change is just too long for me and her, which is why we're looking for a tutor or class.

Parent Replies

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I hope I can say this gently, but it does not sound like your daughter does not need a tutor. What she might need, rather, is some time and space to develop the desire to write. She's only at the beginning of first grade, after all. If she is a proficient reader, than she already intuitively understands phonics, so it's unclear what additional benefit would accrue from phonics tutoring. Rather than critiquing your daughter's curriculum, I would you encourage you to listen to her teacher: does her teacher express concern about your daughter's current literacy skills? If she does not, than I would advise that you take a deep breath and let your daughter come to writing when she is ready. Turning writing (or math, or any academic subject) into a battle at this age is almost surely counter-productive.