Combining Phonics and Whole Language for Reading Instruction

By Matthew Glavach, Ph.D.    

There is more to phonics than whole language enthusiasts are willing to accept - There is more to whole language than phonics proponents are willing to accept.


The science of reading is trending in the direction of phonics which is focused on sound-symbol development important to decoding words. This approach to reading includes studying consistent word patterns. Pattern recognition is compatible with current brain science related to reading. It includes practice with isolated word patterns, especially rhyming patterns such as “fun, run, and sun “and sentence structures such "Tad has a tan hat.  Whole language puts emphasis on rich oral language experiences (e.g. rhymes, puns, chants etc.), and on the act of reading with its focus on great children’s literature.

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