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Reading Approaches of Bottom-up and Top-down

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Reading Approaches of Bottom-up and Top-down

The main two approaches to reading, top-down and bottom-up have
produced a great debate towards which is the best approach to teach
children to read. Top down reading is also known as the whole
language approach in which the meaning of the text relies upon the
reader’s background knowledge and his/her use of prediction to
anticipate the meaning of the text.
( [23.10.01]). The
bottom-up approach to reading involves the use of phonics and the
decoding of text, word by word after which meaning and understanding
will follow (
[23.10.01]). Phonics is referred to a method of teaching children to
read by relating certain letters or sequences of letters with certain
sounds (R.L. Trusk, 1997, p.168). Phonics involves mastering the
alphabetic principle by learning the grapheme-phoneme correspondence
rules (rules of relating letters or groups of letters to sounds). A
grapheme is a small unit of written language, whereas a phoneme is a
small unit of spoken language (Beard, 1993, p.63). Margaret Cooper
informs us that we have approximately 44 speech sounds but we have
only 26 letters which can represent them, this presents the complexity
of the English alphabetic system (Cooper, 1996, p.34). However, Jane
Oakhill comments that mastering the alphabetic principle leads
children to independent reading (Beard, 1993, p.63). Jenny Curtis (in
her article, phonics v. whole language, which is better?) informs us
that whole language, unlike phonics, is not so focussed on rules and
repetition. (http://www...

... middle of paper ...

...lume 20, number 1, Longman Group,
Harlow, U.K.

Schonell, F.J., Goodacre, E. (1945) The Psychology and Teaching of
Reading, Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh, U.K.

Trask, R.L. (1997) A student’s dictionary of language and

linguistics, Arnold, London, U.K.…acyTerms/WhatIs…acyTerms/WhatIs


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