Whole language describes a literacy philosophy which emphasizes that children should focus on meaning and strategy instruction. It is often contrasted with phonics-based methods of teaching reading and writing which emphasize instruction for decoding and spelling.
However, from whole language practitioners’ perspective, this view is erroneous and sets up a false dichotomy. Whole language practitioners teach to develop a knowledge of language including the graphophonic, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic aspects of language
Within a whole language perspective, language is treated as a complete meaning-making system, the parts of which function in relational ways. It has drawn criticism by those who advocate “back to basics” pedagogy or reading instruction because whole language is based on a limited body of scientific research