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Whichever way you learned to read, chances are you never understood what the terms "phonics" or "whole language" meant. However, these are the conditions which are at opposite ends of an on-going debate over the best way to teach kids how to read. "Simply stated, fans of the whole language approach think children's literature, writing tasks, and communication tasks may be used throughout the curriculum to teach reading; backers of phonics education insist that a direct, sequential manner of teaching enables pupils to master reading in an organized manner" (Cromwell, 1997). Critics of phonics assert that the curriculum is too boring, that the endless worksheets will turn kids away in the joy that may be writing and reading. Critics of whole language, however, claim that there's too little structure and the pupils will fail to properly comprehend what they're reading and spell out words accurately (Curtis, 1997). Sometimes the debate has gotten rather polarized, regardless of the fact that the methods are not necessarily dichotomous. People have often politicized the debate as well, which fails to maintain the best interest of students in mind (Rothstein, 200; Strickland, 1998). Rather than selecting between a phonics based and a whole language method of teaching reading, teachers should use a mix that's especially tailored to the needs of his/her individual students. This enables the pupils to use their phonics knowledge inside a larger whole language circumstance, finally instilling in children a desire to read and enabling them to read well. Phonics Phonics is a very systematic approach to teaching reading that involves the breaking down of words into smaller parts. This procedure is called decoding. It focus...