Phonics Vs. Whole Language

Report
The Great Debate
Presented by:
Rebecca Martin
Kindergarten
 Today
we will be exploring the
benefits of both phonics and
whole language. This
exploration will further expand
the knowledge needed to
successfully use a balanced
literacy approach in K-2
Classrooms.
By the end of this professional development,
you will be able to:
 Describe the differences between phonics
and whole language and how each of
these benefit students individually.
 Identify teaching strategies that allow
educators to incorporate more phonics time
into their every day routines resulting in a
more balanced literacy approach.
 Plan lessons that involve the use of both
phonics and whole language to create a
balanced literacy approach.
Twelve K-2 Teachers responded. The following
overall perspectives were observed:
 Many kindergarten teachers stated a need for
increased phonics.
 First Grade teachers expressed that students
coming into first grade were struggling due to a
decrease in phonics.
 Second grade teachers expressed
the importance of whole language
when students get to higher grades
more than in Kindergarten and First.
“I feel as though my students are
benefiting from the increase in whole
language and the decrease in phonics
instruction,”
25%
75%
Yes
No
Which approach do you feel better benefits
students at our school? Should we
combine approaches?
33%
58%
8%
Phonics
Whole Language
Both




Whole language has been
the focus for the past few
years.
Phonics time has been cut.
Since the results show that
many teachers want more
phonics time and believe
both phonics and whole
language should be used,
let’s work on a balanced
approach.
How can we fit a more
balanced approach to our
every day routines?

Phonics Instruction is teaching that is
focused on the relationships between
letters and sounds (Ellis & Lewis, 2006).
Using the chart paper
and markers, create a
brief learning activity,
teaching students how
to figure out the word
“run” with phonics.
Whole Language can be defined as a grass-roots movement
promoted between the years 1975 and 1995 by classroom
teachers to shift reading and writing instruction to include
making meaning out of texts (Smith, 2014)
Create a brief learning
activity that teaches
students to read the
word “run” in a whole
language setting.
With the people around
you, create a Venn
Diagram describing
the similarities and
differences between
whole language and
phonics!
What did you notice
about the two different
methods?
 What are some benefits
of both?
 What are some negatives?
 How can we work to combine the two
methods in order to help more students
grow?

What is a balanced Literacy Approach?
Turn and talk to discuss. Make a list of
the different things you would see in a
balanced literacy approach.
Video: Balanced Literacy
How can we do this in our current curriculum?
What are some things we currently do?
How is this helpful to students?
Read article, “Whole Language and Phonics, Can
they Work Together?”
http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr029.shtm
l
What did you get from the article?
Is it realistic?
How would this help our students?
 This
sample lesson provides
some whole word instruction as
well as some phonics instruction.
 Where did you see
whole language?
Where did you see
phonics?
Create your own!!
 With your grade level, create a half hour
to an hour lesson that involves both
phonics and whole language!
 Share!

Where are we in terms of using a balanced
literacy approach at our school?
Are we leaning more toward one method of
instruction?
How can we
balance out our
approach in order
to establish a
more balanced
literacy approach?
9:00-9:15 Morning Meeting
9:15-10:20 Readers Workshop
10:20-10:50 Writing
10:50-11:25 Lunch
11:25-12:00 Intervention
12:00-12:25 Science
12:25-12:50-Recess
12:50-1:30 Unified Arts
1:30-2:30 Math
2:30-2:45 Read Aloud
2:45-3:00 Dismissal
MM
Reader’s
Workshop
WR
L
Int
Sci
Rec
unified
Math
RA
D
Where in the model schedule can we fit in
more phonics time to create a more
balanced literacy approach?
Turn and Talk.
Share.
Today we have:
 Described the differences between
phonics and whole language and how each
of these benefit students individually.
 Identified teaching strategies that allow
educators to incorporate more phonics time
into their every day routines resulting in a
more balanced literacy approach.
 Planned lessons that involve the use of
both phonics and whole language to create
a balanced literacy approach.
On the exit slip, write
down at least 2 things
you will take from this
professional
development today.






Education World. (1997). Whole language and phonics: Can they work
together? - see more at. Education World, Retrieved from
http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr029.shtml
Ellis, S., & Lewis , M. (2006). Phonics: Practice, research, and policy.
London, England: Paul Chapman.
Layfield, L. (Producer). (2014, March 6). How to Teach Phonics to
Kindergarten Children [Web Video]. Retrieved from
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdI-_cO_zGQ
Sandymcdgp. (Producer). (2010, September 22). The Components of
Balanced Literacy [Web Video]. Retrieved from
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nhZ7g0955Q
Smith, T. (2014). Whole language. Retrieved from
http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/[email protected]&vid=6&hid=116
The Balanced Literacy Diet. (Producer). (2012, April 22). Build Your
Own Poem!: Making Rhymes Based on Spelling Patterns (Virtual Tour)
[Web Video]. Retrieved from
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbfjlfEJyXQ
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