Phonics VS Whole Language

Those familiar with the educational reading battle “phonic vs. whole language” may have a view point on the correct way to teach reading. Phonics programs teach how to connect letter (or groups of letter) sounds- or to be able to manipulate phonemes in words.
The National Reading Panel gave us the following about phonics instruction:
It is important to recognize that the goals of phonics instruction are to provide children with key knowledge and skills and to ensure that they know how to apply that knowledge in their reading and writing. In other words, phonics teaching is a means to an end. To be able to make use of letter-sound information, children need phonemic awareness. That is, they need to be able to blend sounds together to decode words, and they need to break spoken words into their constituent sounds to write words. In implementing systematic phonics instruction, educators must keep the end in mind and ensure that children understand the purpose of learning letter sounds and that they are able to apply these skills accurately and fluently in their daily reading and writing activities.”
And they are right- the reason we read isn’t to practice our phonics skills. We read to gain meaning. This is an important part of the whole language philosophy. Whole language instruction focuses on a child’s motivation, having access to a variety of good reading materials and the time to read them, and focusing on a word’s meaning and using meaning clues to figure out the pronunciation of unknown words. Whole language looks at making meaning in reading and expressing meaning in writing.

I could go on about the two perspectives- but the point is, reading is not an easy thing to teach!!! Although I know 2nd grade readers, I was petrified about teaching early reading. That is why I was so happy when I found this gem at a yard sale in Seattle:

Cost?: $15! This kit has never been used, and everything is just right there to help me teach my daughter to read. And you can bet we have already started working on mastering letter sounds! Curriculum makes my heart sing!
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1 thought on “Phonics VS Whole Language

  1. Discovering Montessori

    Congratulations!! I love Hooked on Phonics I taught all my children to read using this method. My son who entered kindergarten was promoted to first grade. He was at a third grade reading level at 5. I polished him with Teach Your Child To Read in 100 easy lessons. I found that this book added a few extra things that HOP did not cover. We did two or three lessons a day out of the book. He loves to read!! Enjoy your curriculum, and your child will enjoy reading.


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