Balanced Literacy vs Whole Language Approach to Teaching Reading Essay

Balanced Literacy vs Whole Language Approach to Teaching Reading Essay

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Whole language is considered a "top down" approach where the reader constructs a personal meaning for a text based on using their prior knowledge to interpret the meaning of what they are reading. Teachers are expected to provide a literacy rich environment for their students and to combine speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Whole language teachers emphasize the meaning of texts over the sounds of letters, and phonics instruction becomes just one component of the whole language classroom. Problems associated with whole language include a lack of structure that has been traditionally supplied by the scope and sequence, lessons and activities, and extensive graded literature found in basal readers. Whole language puts a heavy burden on teachers to develop their own curriculum.

Balanced Literacy is an approach for teaching literacy that is widely used in classrooms across the country. It involves several methods of teaching and learning reading and writing, whole class instruction directed by the teacher with independent work in reading, writing, and oral language. By integrating a variety of approaches, a balance is achieved in which students learning to understand text (from a whole language approach) as well as how to read text (from a phonics approach). Effective phonics instruction focuses children's attention on noticing the letter/sound patterns in initial consonants and consonant clusters and in rimes.

BALANCED LITERACY provides and cultivates the skills o...

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