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Learn to Read With Feeling

The whole language or balanced literacy approach to teaching reading operates on the presumption that breaking down words distracts children, even discourages them, from growing up to become devoted readers.

Balanced literacy, or at least the way it's practiced in New York, is largely the brainchild of Lucy Calkins, founder of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, who is looked on nationally as a godmother of whole-language learning.

Hundreds of thousands of New York children are learning to read through this approach and it is the school chancellor Joel Klein's belief that balanced literacy is the main reason the city's fourth-grade literacy scores have gone up seven percentage points since 2002, according to the latest survey.

This article, written by Robert Kolker, appeared in the May 13th, 2006 publication of The Australian.

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