Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Teaching


Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education


College of Education


Robinson, Randall


First grade (Education); Reading (Primary)--Language experience approach


Elementary Education and Teaching


The purpose of this study was to determine whether any significant difference in the reading comprehension scores of first grade students utilizing a whole language method of instruction as opposed to phonics-based method of instruction existed. An experimental and control group of first grade students, with 20 children in each group, were administered the Silver Burdett Ginn Reading Comprehension test. Both groups were pre-tested to ascertain their level of reading comprehension before a treatment was administered. Next, the experimental group received the whole language method of reading instruction. Through repeated readings, students were exposed to reading and phonics at the same time. Beginning with familiar texts, the teacher drew attention to the concepts of print, specific words, letter/sound patterns (phonics), and reading strategies. Reading skills and strategies were taught and also assessed directly. This method employed the use of meaningful stories, poems, and opportunities to engage in varied activities (reading, reciting, writing, performing) to enhance the reading experience. One of its goals was making reading more enjoyable, thus increasing the student's desire to read as opposed to the rote memorization procedures of phonics-based methods. At the end of the study, the experimental and control groups were posttested to determine whether one group scored significantly higher on Silver Burdett Ginn Reading Comprehension test. It was hypothesized the first grade students receiving reading instruction through the whole language method would score significantly higher than the first grade students receiving reading instruction through the phonics-based method. The researcher concluded there was no significant difference in reading comprehension test scores between the experimental and control groups. Under these circumstances, the conclusions drawn support the need for more research in this area.