Some weaknesses identified with Whole Language Instruction include:
- Unregulated reading difficulty level – Authentic Literature is assumed to be best to teach reading
- 4th grade text “Celebrate Reading” has selections up to 10th grade difficulty
- No systematic teaching of spelling and vocabulary – words are usually taught only as they occur
- Reading is taught first from a whole book, then sentences, then words, and then finally using sounds and letters LAST
- Children are taught to use context to decide, RATHER THAN COME UP WITH THE PRONUNCIATION!!
- Children are TAUGHT to guess words from pictures, and to guess context instead of using decoding strategies
- Children use decoding based on patterns from other words they can read and spell.
What is the problem with using Whole Language texts to teach reading to special needs children?
**Scientific research has documented that (1) children learn spelling and reading better from systematic instruction of skills in spelling and reading, and that (2) using context does not appreciably help decoding. (NICHD Studies, 2000)