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A Joyful Journey to Literacy

by Pam Schiller
November/December 2003
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/a-joyful-journey-to-literacy/5015406/

Every few years we find ourselves in a debate over the systematic instruction of phonics versus some other less direct form of instruction. During the ‘50s and ‘60s the Language Experience approach was in vogue. This approach relied heavily on sight word recognition and suggested that sound/symbol recognition would occur on its own.

During the ‘80s and ‘90s and still today, the Whole Language approach is popular. This approach is an attempt to blend the Language Experience approach and the use of phonics within meaningful context. This approach requires that the teacher be constantly surveying upcoming instruction for opportunities to point out phonetic connections. There is no systematic plan for teaching phonics in this approach. Phonics instruction is intended to spontaneously pop up in daily lessons and routines. It takes a skilled
and practiced teacher to do this well.

As time has passed it has become apparent that some students who are instructed using the Whole Language method encounter difficulties later in reading. It is evident that some children need more formal instruction in phonenic awareness. It is this recognition that has moved us to our current instructional approach to early literacy " the integration of language experience and the ...

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