Look-say, whole language, phonics…what approach do you use to help your child who is learning to read? What method were you taught as a child? I am going to date myself here, but that’s alright. I grew up learning to read with Dick and Jane. Oh how I loved baby Sally, Spot the dog and Puff the cat, Mother, Father, and of course, Dick and Jane. I loved the pictures in the series, too. The problem is that I was not exposed to any phonics instruction until after second grade. YIKES!
My family moved to a different town, and thus a new school, when I was going into third grade. My new school didn’t embrace sight words, they were very much into phonics. Uh-oh, that spelled trouble for me. Not having a basic understanding of phonics made completing worksheets in third grade a bit of a challenge. I was expected to know stuff that was foreign to me. I survived somehow.
When I was in college learning to be a teacher, whole language was riding high. I didn’t think I was the total answer though. My gut tells me that kids need a healthy mix of phonics, sight words for those that can’t be decoded, and great literature. Using a healthy mix of resources produces balanced kids who are ready to attack anything that comes their way. It’s a little like math. There are sometimes multiple ways to learn to do a specific problem. If you have been exposed to some of the various methods, the likely hood of you successfully solving the problem is high.