The traditional theory of phonics was established in the early nineteenth century. Up until the early nineties, phonics was the only way that a child was taught to read in a classroom setting. Phonics can be defined as the “association of letters or combinations of letters with their appropriate speech sounds. Phonics also includes the understanding of the principals that govern the use of letters in words” (Cooley, 2003). By using the phonics method the student is able to sound out a word that is unfamiliar to them when they are reading. The student is taught to dissect unfamiliar words into smaller parts and then join the familiar parts back together again to form single words. By learning these letter-sound …show more content…
The whole language approach was adopted into the school systems by the state of California in 1987. However, whole language was not a new idea in 1987; it was actually just a new name for older systems that were called “whole word” or “look and say” methods. The whole language method focuses less on rules and repetition than phonics. "It stresses the flow and meaning of the text, emphasizing reading for meaning and using language in ways that relate to the students' own lives and cultures"(Curtis, 1997). Whole language a more interesting and creative approach to reading for children who are eager to learn but don't like the repetition of phonetic learning. Researchers and theorists have said, “Human competence in oral and written language grows as language is used for real purposes. Students learn the English language and how to read as they engage as active agents in constructing their own views of the world and of the English language that is used by human beings to interact with the world and with each other”(Wagner, 1989). The whole language approach is all about social interaction between students.
If someone were to sit in a classroom that was teaching reading, they would notice dramatic difference between a classrooms that taught whole language compared to phonics. In a whole language classroom the