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Phonics vs. Whole Language By: Rebecca Kramer & Jenna Holland.

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Presentation on theme: "Phonics vs. Whole Language By: Rebecca Kramer & Jenna Holland."— Presentation transcript:

1 Phonics vs. Whole Language By: Rebecca Kramer & Jenna Holland

2 The ongoing debate… Which is the best way to teach a child to read? Phonics or Whole Language

3 What’s the difference? Phonics- children are taught to dissect unfamiliar words into parts and then join the parts together to form words. By learning these letter-sound relationships the student is provided with a decoding formula that can be applied whenever they encounter an unfamiliar word.

4 Whole Language With whole language, teachers are expected to provide a literacy rich environment for their students and to combine speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Whole language teachers emphasize the meaning of texts over the sounds of letters, and phonics instruction becomes just one component of the whole language classroom. Whole language is considered a "top down“ approach where the reader constructs a personal meaning for a text, based on using their prior knowledge to interpret the meaning of what they are reading.

5 Pros for a Phonics based Program Builds better pronunciation and word recognition Formulas can be applied again and again Will help children with spelling far more than the memorization and guesswork of whole language

6 Cons for a Phonics based Program A child may have difficulty understanding the full meaning of a text, due to the constant breaking down of words into parts The rules and rote learning it entails are stifling and may cause children to develop the attitude that reading is a chore

7 Pros for a Whole Language based Program Provides a better understanding of the text, and a more interesting and creative approach to reading More emphasis on meaning and comprehension and less emphasis on phonics Children memorize large numbers of sight words Children learn to read by reading

8 Cons for a Whole Language based Program Whole Language learning may come at the expense of accuracy and correctness Ex. A child may be awarded high marks for “overall language use,” even if he or she has misspelled many words

9 Which is better? Visual learners tend to benefit from the whole language approach Auditory learners learn what they hear so they rely more on phonetics

10 Does this mean you should categorize your child, and push for one teaching method? NO- most children learn through a combination of techniques The different strengths that each method offers, suggests that a mixed approach for each child will probably be most beneficial!

11 What do others have to say? “Many combinations and permutations are necessary to provide an optimal learning environment for an entire class of readers.” (educationworld.com) “To provide balanced reading instruction, schools must give thoughtful consideration to such elements as curriculum, assessment, and professional development.”(ncrel.org) “Good instruction in reading must combine these two approaches and balance the instruction. So in a classroom I would hope to see lots of reading and writing, but also some focused word study going on.” (Dr. Woody Trathen)

12 Combining Phonics with Whole Language Programs Balance your reading program by focusing on literature and fun. Read to students often, choral read with them, and give them time to read both alone and in pairs. Guard against boredom- Spend only a brief time each day on phonics and do no more than one worksheet daily. Use many word games in your teaching. For most children, phonics is easier to learn if they are having fun. If students are not able to learn phonics easily, try other reading approaches, like recorded books or story writing. Develop a classroom library. Have children browse, read, and discuss books.

13 Combining Phonics with Whole Language Programs Balance the reading program by providing as much structure as needed and some step-by-step skill work, especially for analytic students, while emphasizing literature and fun. Provide sufficient tools for decoding words, using small amounts of direct instruction in phonics for auditory and analytic learners. Tape-record phonics lessons so that students can work independently to improve skills. Don't use invented spelling for long periods with highly analytic learners or students who have memory problems.

14 Works Cited Donat, Dorothy J. Reading Their Way: a Balance of Phonics and Whole Language. Lanham: The Scarecrow P, Inc., Krashen, Stephen D. Three Arguments Against Whole Language & Why They are Wrong. Portsmouth: Heinemann, Dr. Woodrow Trathen, Appalachian State University Krashen, Stephen D. "Defending Whole Language." 4 Apr "Whole Language." Wikipedia. 23 Feb Apr Cromwell, Sharon. “Whole Language and Phonics: Can They Work Together?” 2 Apr “North Central Regional Educational Laboratory” 12 Apr Reyhner, Jon. “The Reading Wars.” 26 March 2006


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