Even though there is a movement toward "balanced reading," the too-frequent reality is a thinly veiled variation of the whole-language
approach with a cursory, unsystematic nod to phonics principles.
This methodology teaches both phonics skills (i.e., letter recognition, auditory discrimination among phonemes, and letter-sound relationship) and whole-language
skills (i.e., the learned associations between visual recognition of words and meaning) (Bradley & Bryant, 1983; Fitzgerald, 1999; Honig, 2001; Karemaker, Pitchford & O'Malley, 2010; Matson, 1996; Reutzel & Cooter, 2004; Slavin, Lake, Davis, & Madden, 2011).
In the last half of the 20th century, there was this tension between people who focus on phonics--which just refers to methods for teaching kids how to connect spelling with spoken language--and the whole-language
approach, which has its own set of faulty assumptions.
Anthony Pedriana's Leaving Johnny Behind: Overcoming Barriers to Literacy and Reclaiming At-Risk Readers answers this perennial question and explains how the educational community shifted from teaching reading based on phonics (alphabetic code) to the "whole-word" or "whole-language
Miller brought to this challenge her background as a graphic designer, training as a teacher of visually impaired students (when Jamaica was three years old), and a commitment to the whole-language
model emphasizes a focus on meaning and literature, rather than basic skill instruction such as sounding out words.
Moats exposes scientifically untenable practices in reading instruction, including: (1) use of memorization, picture cues, and contextual guessing for teaching word recognition instead of direct, systematic teaching of decoding and comprehension skills; (2) substitution of teacher modeling and reading aloud for explicit, organized instruction; (3) rejection of systematic and explicit phonics, spelling, or grammar instruction; (4) confusion of phonemic awareness with phonics; (5) reliance on leveled and trade books to organize instruction; and (6) use of whole-language
approaches for English language learners.
When the whole-language
movement began its meteoric rise in the 1980s, Open Court was demonized because of its emphasis on phonics.
Pressley (teacher education, counseling, educational psychology, and special education, Michigan State U.) has updated this text according to the latest research in skills-based and whole-language
approaches in a highly motivated environment, focusing on fluency, vocabulary and writing.
However, the incoming school superintendent ordered that phonics instruction be replaced by "balanced literacy'--which mixes phonics with "whole-language
research: Foundations and development.
To facilitate growth, I would need to provide my students with a consistently balanced and integrated approach to whole-language
development (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2004) which was based on their own learning and behavioral patterns.