Phonics vs Whole Language

As an educator and a compulsive planner, I started investigating reading-readiness programs while Froggy was still a tadpole. There was no doubt in my mind that we were going to use a phonics program. The only question was which one. I looked at many many different programs over months and months before picking one, all before she turned one. Since it was clearly not needed for a long time, it got shelved and forgotten. Meanwhile as suggested, we purchased and played with letter puzzles and magnetic letters and an amazing toy, Fridge Phonics, which quickly became a favorite.

So time passed and Froggy turned 2. She knows her letters and the sound they make. She suddenly and unexpectedly (to me at least) starts filling in the words when I am slow completing a page in the book we are reading. So periodically, with some larger print books, I start pointing at the words as I read and deliberately pausing for her to "read" certain words.

She desperately wants to read and just because I have not explained thoroughly how phonics works and how the sounds go together does not mean she is going to wait. I did not intend to use a whole language approach or teach "sight" words (other than her name) but Froggy had other ideas and we will be using a combination of approaches.

I guess this is really what they mean by child-led learning.


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