Reading Instruction Timeline
Learning to read for most students is not something that comes naturally. There has always been a teeter-totter between two types of reading instruction: Phonics and Whole Language. With the English language constantly changing it is often a confusing and frustrating task to learn to read. Reading has gone through many changes over the last several centuries. The English language started in 447 AD. Latin missionaries first wrote it down in 750 AD (Tompkins, 2003). In the Fifteenth through Eighteenth Centuries hornbooks were used to teach reading, Spellers followed these. In 1655, Pascal invented synthetic phonics. This was followed by battledores in Eighteenth through Nineteenth Centuries, and Noah Webster using synthetic phonics in 1783. The Elocution Era was from 1826 through 1876, which was where a form of whole word instruction was utilized. This was where students memorized text and then recited it back. In 1866 Leigh Print was created, which was a self-pronouncing print developed by Edwin Leigh, followed by McGuffey publishing a phonetic edition with a modified form of Leigh Print in 1879. Elocutionary whole words method with the sentence method was introduced in 1889. Between 1900 and 1930 Whole Word instruction continued with phonics used as a supplement in the upper grades, and the Dick and Jane books were used in 1930. Whole word instruction, later called Whole Language, was on the increase between the 1980s and the 1990s. Finally, in 2001, with the No Child Left Behind Act, Phonics instruction was mandated in the classroom. (The Phonics Page, n.d.) First grade in 1988-1989 was largely cloaked in disagreements and controversy. Whole Word, or Whole Language, as it was called, was being implemented inside the classrooms. Frank Smith and Kenneth Gooodman created whole Language reading instruction in the 1970s. They claimed that students learned better simply “by reading”. In other words that students...
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