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In the 1990s there were many arguments over which method of language learning was more valuable: phonics or whole language. While the debates rattled many college walls, the consensus is that both methodologies work well for two very different types of learners.
Phonics is the understanding of how letters combine to create words and sounds. Whole language is a balanced reading and writing program that promotes word recognition rather than the sounding out of the individual letter and then blending them together to create a word. Today, most classrooms begin with the child learning the sounds of the consonants and vowels and then sounding out the letters in mixed combinations to create words. Simultaneously the child also learns to recognize certain “site” words that increase in difficulty as he ascends in grade levels.
The phonics curriculum experienced bad press in the 1990s, but today it is an integral part of the public school curriculum. As an elementary homeschool teacher, teach your children both methods of reading so that they can adapt to the method that works best for them.