What’s Whole In Whole Language In The 21st Century?


What’s Whole In Whole Language In The 21st Century? by Ken Goodman

What’s Whole In Whole Language In The 21st Century? by Ken Goodman includes previously unpublished work – 1992-1993 Interviews of Renowned Reading Scholars

About What’s Whole In Whole Language In The 21st Century?

What’s Whole in Whole Language in the 21st Century? includes a new introduction by Ken Goodman, commentary by Michael Rosen, and excerpts from a series of never published interviews conducted in 1992-1993 of renowned reading scholars who knew Ken and Yetta Goodman, and who spoke freely about their lives together as well as their research and teaching.

The insights of these scholars, who include Frank Smith and Jeanne Chall, are profound. They shift the political discourse of reading research and teaching young children to read. Ousting the propaganda, they shed light on what really happened to progressive educators and whole language teachers at the end of the 20th century.

The original version of Goodman’s best-selling book sold two hundred and fifty thousand copies, became a worldwide phenomenon, and was translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese and Chinese. It became the handbook for the revolution for equality and justice for all children that occurred in classrooms around the world. Teachers were inspired to put aside commercial materials that were based on very limited understandings of reading and writing, and instead placed children and their very natural curiosity about language and learning at the center of classroom activity.

In the 1990’s, the agenda for public education shifted away from developmentally appropriate teaching and learning and prominently featured the goals of curriculum standardization, test-based accountability, and a reward-and-punish policy toward school performance. Although conservative ideology and the thirst for profit were factors at play, the real motive was to ensure that U.S. corporations would remain competitive in the 21st century global market. They would achieve this by turning schools into “workforce development systems” that would produce future workers with very narrowly defined literacy proficiencies and a predilection for passivity and compliance. This is the experience of most public school children today, whose lives and academic development are so negatively impacted by the Common Core.

There has never been a more critical time for teachers to read What’s Whole in Whole Language in the 21st Century? It is as prescient today as it was when Goodman first wrote it.


Education / Reading Skills Reference / Education Reform & Policy / Linguistics Reference
6 x 9 inches | 256 pages
$17.95 Paperback | $9.95 eBook
Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Books-A-Million | Indigo Books

Book Reviews

“I think the essence of his work is the ethical and the moral dimensions.” – Jerome Harste

“What’s Whole in Whole Language is must-reading for parents, teachers, school administrators and legislators–anyone who would like deeper understanding of the process of how we make sense of written language. Ken Goodman is one of the most important reading researchers of the last hundred years. Includes interviews and commentaries by leading literacy scholars.” – Alan D. Flurkey

“My admiration is for his political acumen. Education does not just take place in classrooms. It is a political situation.” – Frank Smith

“In the American phrase that I’ve learned to love, ‘we need to wise up’. This book helps us do just that.”- Michael Rosen

“This revised and expanded version of Ken Goodman’s seminal book from the 1980’s has new chapters by Denny Taylor, Michael Rosen and Goodman himself, along with newly published interviews by leaders in the field who assess Goodman’s contribution to the field. This is an important book for anyone engaged with children and literacy. Goodman’s insights have stood the test of time, despite a vigorous politically and economically motivated attempt to discredit them” – Amazon Customer

“I have found that with Ken it is about making learning to read barrier free.” – Brian Cambourne

“His main contribution is freedom for teachers.” – Jeanne Chall