5 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2018
    1. These ideas are rooted in beliefs about reading that were once commonly called “whole language” and that gained a lot of traction in the 1980s. Whole-language proponents dismissed the need for phonics. Reading is “the most natural activity in the world,” Frank Smith, one of the intellectual leaders of the whole-language movement, wrote. It “is only through reading that children learn to read. Trying to teach children to read by teaching them the sounds of letters is literally a meaningless activity.”
    2. while learning to talk is a natural process that occurs when children are surrounded by spoken language, learning to read is not. To become readers, kids need to learn how the words they know how to say connect to print on the page. They need explicit, systematic phonics instruction. There are hundreds of studies that back this up.
  2. Sep 2018
    1. What's also clear in the research is that phonics isn't enough. Children can learn to decode words without knowing what the words mean. To comprehend what they're reading, kids need a good vocabulary, too. That's why reading to kids and surrounding them with quality books is a good idea. The whole language proponents are right about that.
    2. The battle between whole language and phonics got so heated that the U.S. Congress eventually got involved, convening a National Reading Panel to review all the research on reading. In 2000, the panel released a report. The sum of the research showed that explicitly teaching children the relationship between sounds and letters improved reading achievement. The panel concluded that phonics lessons help kids become better readers. There is no evidence to say the same about whole language.
    3. Whole language was a movement of people who believed that children and teachers needed to be freed from the tedium of phonics instruction. Phonics lessons were seen as rote, old-fashioned, and kind of conservative. The essential idea in whole language was that children construct their own knowledge and meaning from experience. Teaching them phonics wasn't necessary because learning to read was a natural process that would occur if they were immersed in a print-rich environment. Whole language proponents thought phonics lessons might actually be bad for kids, might inhibit children from developing a love of reading by making them focus on tedious skills like breaking words into parts.