Whole Language




Professional Books:


Diane Stephens' Research on Whole Language: Support for a New Curriculum (Richard Owens, 1991 ISBN 1-878450-13-1.) It's a survey of the available research and a summation of its findings. There are weaknesses or holes in that research: most of it was done with lower grade children and has focused on one or two aspects of the whole language program. These are directions for further research and Stephens points them out. While few of even the most dedicated of us will curl up with a good book on research, most of us need access to it at one time or another.

Whole Language: Getting Started Moving Forward (Richard C. Owen, 1991 ISBN 0 913461 19 9) by Linda Crafton is a book for you if you're just getting started in whole language.


We all know that even the most well-meaning parent can undo what you're doing at school because of a lack of understanding of what's going on and because of the feeling that change has to be bad. There's an excellent book for parents called Raising Readers: Helping Your Child to Literacy by Steven Bialostok (Peguis, 1992 ISBN 1-895411-37-8.)


Robert and Marlene McCracken's Stories, Songs and Poetry to Teach Reading and Writing Literacy through Language - (Peguis, 1987 ISBN 0-920541-35-6) is far from new, but it has some wonderful techniques for helping readers interact with text.

Terry D. Johnson and Daphne R. Louis' Bringing It All Together, a Program for Literacy (Heinemann, 1990 ISBN 0-435-08502-6) does a nice job of doing just what the title suggests, bringing together theory and practice in whole language activities.

Nancie Atwell has compiled a series of articles about reading in the content areas in Coming to Know: Writing to Learn in the Intermediate Grades.

Bobbi Fisher's Joyful Learning: A Whole Language Kindergarten (Heinemann, 1991 ISBN 0-435-08569-7) gets down to the basics of how to implement a whole language classroom in kindergarten.

Another good import from Australia for whole language work, You Can't Make a Book in a Day by Bronwen Scarffe and Lorraine Wilson. Illustrated by Philip Gray (Robert Andersen Assoc. 318b Glenferrie Road, Malvern, Victoria, Australia ISBN 0-949133-18-3). With all the emphasis on writing in libraries and classrooms, we need such books as this which, in very clear format, outline ideas and suggestions for turning kids' writing into published books. There are chapters on: the role of the teacher in keeping in touch, developing awareness, steps in publishing, the classroom publishing area, making contact with authors and publishers, and some ditto masters for decision making. There's also a very good bibliography. If the process has been defeating you, this book may offer some help.


Thanks to the work of Richard Gentry and others, most of us are now aware that spelling is developmental rather than an either/or, rote memory skill. However, after we accept that fact, what do we do with it? Ignore spelling, assuming that sooner or later, students will grow into it? Go on using some adaptation of the words of the week technique? Several books offer suggestions.

I very much like the book Spelling Instruction that Makes Sense by Jo Phenix and Doreen Scott-Dunne (Oryx, 1992.)

David Booth has compiled a series of writings called Spelling Links: Reflections on Spelling and Its Place in the Curriculum (Pembroke, 1991 ISBN 0-921217-69-2.)

Ethel Buchanan's Spelling for Whole Language Classrooms (Whole Language Consultants, available through Richard C. Owen, 1989 ISBN 0-921253-17-6) is an attempt to make connections between a theory of spelling development, instruction and evaluation.


Robert J. Tierney, , Mark A. Carter, and Laura E. Desai studied the use of portfolios in local school systems for three years before they compiled Portfolio Assessment in the Reading-Writing Classroom (Christopher Gordon, 1991 ISBN 0-926842-08-0.)


Related Areas within Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site