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Phonics in Upper Elementary

Teachers know that it’s essential to focus on phonics in the early levels of preschool and elementary. As children make their way through the upper elementary grades, it might be easy to forget their importance. But studies show that children in upper elementary grades actually still benefit from phonics instruction – it improves fluency, spelling, and the ability to decode words. 


So it’s no secret that leaning into solid phonics instruction at the beginning of the year continues to build that solid foundation of phonics!


phonics word work activities

As children make their way through elementary school, phonics instruction in the upper grades gradually gets more intricate.  No longer are students learning vowel sounds and putting together simple CVC words.  Rather, students graduate to more nuanced and complex ideas, like r-controlled vowels, diphthongs, tricky silent letters, and more!


Review of phonics at this level still holds great value because it:

  • Helps build readers’ confidence through fluency
  • Helps students practice decoding words
  • Helps readers understand that changing part of a word can change its meaning 
  • Helps expand vocabulary (think: prefixes and suffixes)

So how do teachers practice phonics review with their older students?  My Phonics Focused Review Reading Passages are the perfect resource for teachers, parents, tutors, and specialists who want to focus on phonics review in the upper elementary grades!

Phonics Focused Review Passages

phonics in upper elementary
phonics focused review passages

These Phonics Focused Review Reading Passages are for students in:

  • 2nd & 3rd grade (best for end of the year 2nd grade and beginning of 3rd grade)
  • 3rd & 4th grade (best for end of the year 3rd grade and beginning of 4th grade)
  • 4th & 5th grade (best for end of the year 4th grade and beginning of 5th grade)

Each download includes instructions for use and 15 passages that include focus words, word work, and comprehension questions for each story.


How to use the Phonics Focused Review Passages:

These resources can be used as beginning-of-the-year assessments, review throughout the school year, or even in summer school.


Students will read a phonics focused passage and use decoding skills to make their way through the story. At the end of each passage, students gain more phonics practice by circling and writing words with specific word patterns.  Once that’s completed, students then answer a set of comprehension questions.


Please note that these resources are specifically intended to be a review of all of the phonics patterns that are listed below the “phonics concepts included” heading of each resource.


These passages focus on:

  • short vowels
  • digraphs
  • blends (beginning and ending)
  • silent e
  • r-controlled vowels
  • double consonants
  • vowel teams
  • diphthongs
  • compound words
  • soft c/g
  • silent letters
  • common prefixes
  • suffixes
  • Latin suffixes

Phonics Practice in the Upper Grades

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These Phonics Focused Review Passages are all you need for phonics practice in the upper grades.  They can even stand alone as their own literacy center for students who are ready for a challenge and wish to complete them independently!  Simply slip the writing portion of the passages into a dry erase pocket for continual use.


If you have students early in their understanding or those who are struggling with phonics work, check out my Phonics-Focused Review Passages for 1st and 2nd graders! 

Read more about those Phonics Based Review passages here! 

You’ll love how quick, easy, and effective these phonics-focused passages are for you and for your students!

If you need more ideas for upper elementary literacy, check out this blog post!

Aylin Claahsen

Aylin Claahsen

Providing resources and support to engage all readers.

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Hi, I'm Aylin!

I’m so happy you’re here! I’m a certified reading specialist who loves talking all things literacy. I have a huge passion for providing resources and support to engage all readers!


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