The terms “Look and Say” and “Whole Word” are usually used to mean a method of teaching reading where children memorise or deduce words as wholes, without phonics. The levels in reading schemes based on this approach are structured according to the number of words in the books, the ease of guessing the words from pictures and the amount of repetition.
I have read that “decodable” books are dull and restrictive and that a “whole word” or “Look and Say” approach allows children to read for meaning and enjoyment. Here are two examples of books, one based on “Look and Say” and one “decodable” . I leave the reader to decide which one is more dull and restrictive and which one is more enjoyable.
This one is based on a “Look and Say” approach. It is one of the first level of Peter and Jane readers:
This one is based on a phonic approach. It is one of the first level of Jolly Readers and is designed to be decodable for children who have been learning through a phonic approach for about ten weeks.Here is Peter and here is Jane. Here is Pat the dog.
Peter is here. Jane is here and Pat is here. Here they are.
Here they are in the water.
They like the water. Pat likes the water. Pat likes fun.
Come in Pat. It is fun. It is fun in the water.
Come in the water. Come come come.
The Wind and the Sun argued.
"I am the strongest!" shouted the Wind.
"I am!" glinted the Sun.
"I bet I can get that man's coat off!" boasted the Wind.
He tried hard, but the man just shivered and held onto his coat.
The Wind stormed off and the Sun just glittered.