Whole-language originated in New Zealand by Don Holdaway(1967-1979),
Mary Clay(1967), and Sylvia Ashing-Warner.
Whole-language is a child-centered, literature-based approach to
language teaching that immerses students in real communication
Language is easy to learn when it is a meaningful language. So when
it is started from whole to part, the children can accept reading and
writing interesting and natural. While traditional approaches to reading
begin with small parts and build up to whole, whole language approaches
start with word. Children learn to read and write by reading and writing
that interests them through meaningful language experience with the
support and guidance of the teacher.
Oral language is one of the first thing that accompanies reading and
writing. Children need to be able to talk out what they are going to
write or read out loud.
Students can learn to read by reading when they are exposed into
meaningful language activities; listen to stories to read to them,
participate in choral speaking sessions, read along with an adult or
peer, skipping jingles, songs, or predictable literature, or read print
in the environment, such as logs on cereal boxes, or print on lunch
boxes, on highway signs, on school buses…., reread their own stories
or compositions, or individual dictated stories.
And from the time the students start in the classroom, the student is
encouraged to begin with writing with a journal, notes, or letters.
While they are involved into various reading and writing activities,
they begin to internalize and make corrections on the basic words
The use of literature, drama, and art are encouraged to enhance
language and verbal skills.
Finally the organizing for a whole-language classroom is to be more
integrated with units and themes along with the approach.
Whole language researchers have found that language experience
programs have produced successful readers with the added benefits of
development in oral language, vocabulary and the attitude of the
students toward reading and their own self-esteem.
Allyn and Bacon. (1991). Whole-Language, practice and theory.
Needham Heights, MA. A Simon & Schuster Company.
Gail Heald-Taylor. (1989). The Administrator’s Guide to Whole
Katonah, NewYork. Richard C. Owen Publisher, Inc.
Yvonne S.Freeman, David E. Freeman (1998). ESL/EFL Teaching,
Success. Portsmouth, NH. Heinemann.
For a critical assessment see:
Thompson, Richard; A critical perspective on Whole Language; Reading
Psychology 13: 131- 155; 1992
See Also Thomas
B. Fordham Foundation