Abstract. The spelling skills of grade 3 children who had received whole language instruction since they began to learn to read were compared with those of grade 3 children attending a phonics program. The children were asked to spell a list of words and nonwords. Overall, the phonics group produced more accurate word spellings than the whole language group. In addition, the phonics children's spellings of nonwords included more conventional, phonologically accurate patterns. There were no group differences on measures of orthographic acceptability or on preservation of skeletal structure.