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Tuesday, December 23, 2003



Greetings all you folks coming through from Spleenville. Here are some more whole language resources:
>Brief overview

The term "whole language" was coined by Dr. Kenneth Goodman of the University of Arizona in the early 1980's. Whole language developed into much more than just a reading program. It is an educational philosophy in its own right. It attempts to cover the whole gamut of language learning, including reading, writing and speaking. Much of the philosophy is derived from that used in developmentally appropriate practices teaching and other forms of student-centered instruction. Parts of whole language have been shown to be of value, but the word recognition strategies it advocates are a major point of debate. Goodman believed that learning written language occurs naturally, in the same way we acquire spoken language. He thought children could learn to read primarily by figuring out the meaning of words from an analysis of the context in which they occurred. Good readers don't read word by word Goodman argued. "[t]hey construct meaning from the [entire] text. Indeed, accuracy is not an essential goal of reading". In Goodman's view, it is more important that the reader construct his own meaning from the text than it is for him to accurately read what is on the text.

In a whole language classroom, children are immersed in reading and writing projects at the expense of systematically teaching specific reading or writing skills. Students are encouraged to recite what the teacher reads aloud from an entertaining big-print book. They are allowed to write using "inventive spelling", without actually learning punctuation, grammar or penmanship skills. One of the essential beliefs is that language is learned from "whole to part", with word recognition skills picked up in the context of actual reading and writing, or "immersion" in a print-rich classroom. A recent description of whole language written by two elementary school teachers illustrates this belief.

Whole language vs. Phonics in 1,000 words.

Speaking vs. Reading

summary of excellent Stewart article on whole language in California and the devastating effect.

Start: The Brain and Reading--six related essays on how the brain reads.

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