ERIC Number: ED364830
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
The Effects of Whole Language Instruction: An Update and a Reappraisal.
Stahl, Steven A.; And Others
A study reviewed the effects of the whole language movement. Two forms of analysis were used: meta-analysis, and a simple "vote-counting" procedure. Quantitative studies that compared a whole language and a traditional (or basal reading) approach, published between 1988 and 1993, were selected for analysis. A total of 45 studies were identified, but statistical tests were not conducted since only 14 of the studies reported numerical data. Results indicated that: (1) goals of research shifted from achievement to attitude; (2) researchers used several different types of reading comprehension measures; (3) a number of studies used a variety of isolated word measures, another group of studies examined the effects of whole language on decoding measures; (4) the usefulness of whole language instruction seems well established; (5) no significant effects were found on attitude measures; (6) younger students tended to focus on reading as decoding, and older readers defined reading as meaning-making; and (7) Reading Recovery, literature discussion groups, and supplemental literature programs are similar to whole language but differ in one or more significant respects. Findings suggest that: whole language approach has a small positive effect on reading comprehension; explicit phonics instruction might not be out of place in a whole language program; an emphasis on challenging students to read and learn from more complex materials is important; open-ended tasks should be emulated in all reading classes; and the use of quality literature is important. (Contains 106 references.) (RS)
Descriptors: Comparative Analysis, Elementary Education, Elementary School Students, Evaluation Methods, Instructional Effectiveness, Meta Analysis, Reading Achievement, Reading Instruction, Reading Research, Research Methodology, Student Attitudes, Theory Practice Relationship, Whole Language Approach
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Educational Issues
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Reading Conference (43rd, Charleston, SC, December 1-4, 1993).