Whole Language/Reading Issues

Whole language describes a method of, and philosophy regarding, the teaching of reading that is based on constructivist principles. Very popular in the 1980s and 1990s, whole language continues to play a part in discussions related to the best ways to teach reading. The method emphasizes having children interact with reading, writing, and speaking through interconnected, meaningful activities rather than discrete subsets. This entry examines the theoretical underpinnings of whole language, some of the educational transformations its adherents favor, the controversy with phonics advocates, and its lasting influence. Insofar that decisions regarding whole language inform what is taught, how it is taught, and indeed that which should be taught, consideration of these issues are central to curriculum theory discussions.

Whole language is predicated on the belief ...

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