On Pedagogy, Race and Class

Q One of the key criticisms of whole language is that kids need phonics to learn to read and that whole language doesn’t teach phonics.

The phonics approach to reading was popularized only since about 1915. So the first question is, how the hell did everyone learn how to read in the 4,000 years of written language before phonics was invented?

In fact, whole language is a return to the eternal fundamentals of education: kids reading whole, original books, writing whole, original texts of their own in a community of fellow learners with an experienced adult guiding them. That’s whole language. That’s the ancient way, the “primitive” way, the truly back-to-basics form of education.