Monday, April 09, 2007

Whole language debate

Who that?
Good debate about whole language vs. phonics at edspresso. Ken De Rosa, a phonics advocate, locks horns with whole language teacher Nancy Creech. Ken likens whole language advocates to the Japanese who were still roaming the jungles for years after the end of WW II, refusing to give up.

I have seen the sad victims of the psycholinguistic guessing game promoted by whole language. Words come out of the mouth of these victims that are nowhere in the sentence. Context clues are important for meaning but not for decoding, perhaps with the exception of words like read and lead. It does take a special zealotry to cling to this failed method.

See Martin Kozloff's A Whole Language Catalogue of the Grotesque for what whole language gurus actually believe. It's like entering a fun house with hideously distorting mirrors.

3 comments:

Myrtle Hocklemeier said...

From Creech: Rather then bickering back and forth about DI and WL...

I waded through her anecdotes and personal history hoping to get some insight only to find out that she's not going to address the issues.

Did they ask Susan OHanian?

Elizabeth B said...

I recently found that there was another period of whole language teaching in our history based on elocution. I found this after reading Geraldine Rodgers' History of Beginning Reading, and have verified it from research at the Library of Congress. Here's my history of reading instruction that shows this period: http://www.navpress.com/Assets/PDF/Magazines/DJ/BRPlan.pdf

You might also enjoy my sight words page: http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Reading/sightwords.html

Elizabeth B said...

Sorry! I haven't had my coffee yet. That first link should be: http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Phonics/historyofreading.html