ERIC Number: ED324636
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Jun
Reference Count: 0
Whole Language and the Emergent Literacy of At-Risk Children: A Two Year Comparative Study.
Stice, Carole F.; Bertrand, Nancy P.
This two-year pilot study examined the effectiveness of whole language on the literacy development of selected at-risk children, comparing the performance of nearly 100 first and second graders in whole language and traditional classrooms. Findings showed that children from the whole language classrooms performed as well as their counterparts from traditional classes on standardized achievement tests in reading. Informal, qualitative measures of literacy development indicated that, compared to children in traditional classrooms, children from the whole language classrooms: (1) read for meaning better, corrected more of their mistakes, and retold more fully the stories they read; (2) wrote so much that they did as well or better than their traditional counterparts on spelling, with little or no direct instruction in spelling; (3) appeared more confident in their reading; and (4) appeared to possess a wider variety of strategies related to reading. The study concluded that children in the whole language classrooms appeared to feel better about themselves as readers, writers, and learners; seemed to know more about the reading process, and appeared to learn the mechanics of reading and writing as well as or better than their traditional counterparts without high levels of direct skill and drill instruction; and appeared to be on their way to becoming more independent learners than the children in the traditional program. Thus, the study concluded that whole language (in the hands of trained and committed teachers) appears to be a viable alternative to traditional instruction for young children at-risk. (Fifty-five references are attached, and appendixes contain reading and writing interview data.) (SR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Tennessee State Univ., Nashville. Center of Excellence: Basic Skills.
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