Making Sense Out of Nonsensical Statements: Reading and Whole Language

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The Four Nonsensical Statements Related to Whole Language:

(1) Whole language has been debunked. Nope. Hasn't happened. If so, send me a research study. Not data. Not something somebody else has said, but a research study published in a peer-reviewed academic journal debunking whole language.

(2) Phonics is more effective than whole language. That's like saying long division is more effective than mathematics. Phonics is something that’s taught. It’s not a method or an approach. Whole language is an understanding of the reading process and how the brain creates meaning with print.

(3) Whole language teachers don’t teach phonics. They do. It’s not the ‘what’ but the ‘how’ and the ‘how much” of phonics in which we differ from our skills-first brothers and sisters.

(4) Whole language teachers teach children to guess at words. Wrong. They do not. Developing students’ ability to use semantics, grammar and word order, background information, along with letter clues to recognize words does not mean that we teach children to guess at words.


Elementary and Literacy Education Department