Phonics vs Whole Language Instruction

Recently I was thrust into making a quick decision whether I should focus mainly on teaching phonics or using the whole language approach. My new students were showing gaps which needed to be filled before any significant learning was to take place. I began to focus on my initial idea only to realize that I still needed to expose them to whole words in a natural way. 

So what is the best way to ensure that students benefit from the strengths of both approaches? The answer is to adopt a  balanced approach to the teaching of reading. Below are the links to some great articles which suggest ways to get the best of both.

Mrs Meacham's Classroom

Balanced Literacy Resources
Teaching Resources

Motivation for Literacy
Balanced Literacy Diet


  1. Your post has been such an inspiration. I have been trying how to do the "shared reading" with my basal series. I have the read aloud and guided reading down, but was struggling with the shared part. Your link to the Balanced Literacy Diet has totally solved my problem. Thank you, thank you for this post! Amazing ideas, really amazing-

  2. I am an assistant English language teacher in Japan and I have encountered students who struggle with reading everyday. Many of them lack phonemic awareness and phonetic skills. I am grateful for your link to Balanced Literacy Diet. It will be a great help to me and my students. Thank you.

  3. Your post is very helpful. The resources you have attached will be beneficial in the classroom and in a professional learning community. I feel having a balanced approach to teaching reading helps students make a connection to reading and writing effectively. I am learning how professional learning communities work and now that I have found your post I have a great resource to share with other colleagues. Thank you for sharing.