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.