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A Whole Word Reading is a pragmatic shift from Phonetic method of teaching reading to babies in the 21st Century Education system.

Your Name and Title: Ozelle Stephen, Rev/Director of Education

School or Organization Name: Miridians Elementary School, Centre of Enabling Support Foundation, Uganda

Co-Presenter Name(s): None

Area of the World from Which You Will Present: Kampala Uganda

Language in Which You Will Present: English

Target Audience(s): Teachers and Parents

Short Session Description (one line): A Whole Word Reading approach is a pragmatic shift from Phonetic method of teaching reading to babies in the 21st Century Education system.

Full Session Description (as long as you would like):

On 17th May, 2017 Enable Support Foundation (ESF) held the first 21st Century Education conference in Miridians Elementary School with a goal to let babies read before they start school. The same way they can learn to speak is the way they will learn to read.

We work with ESF which operates in the Cloud and allows us to collaborate in Peace Flame. This presentation is to bring awareness to teachers, care takers and parents that Whole Word reading approach replaces Phonetic approach in 21St Century Education.

Participants shall be able to know advantages of Whole Word Reading over Phonetic approach and understand the limitations of phonetic approach.

In Uganda and world over, traditional reading (phonetic) wastes about 6 years and does not work with about 20% of students and discourages speed reading.  It tells you how to say a word, but tells you nothing about what it means. 

Teaching Whole Word works for everyone and is, in fact, speed reading. Reading at an early stage is one of the basics of education that can become as natural as listening.

Early reading is Sustainable Development goal 4; Quality education for all. Children shall be exposed to vast literature that can transform livelihood leading to poverty eradication, improved environment, increased prosperity, good health promotion, among others.

Phonetic Reading is the process of learning, understanding and manipulating the sound that each letter makes. It is a method of teaching and learning reading based on the letters of the alphabet and their associated letter sounds or groups of letter sound. The sounds the letters make decode words that can be read/heard.

This method cannot help an infant or a parent who is not trained on letter sounds. It also delays reading and leads learners astray due to different sounds from different words. For example, compare sounds in words like;

  1. SUGAR and UMBRELLA: In “Sugar” letter “U” sounds U and in “Umbrella “U” sounds A.
  2. HEAD and MADE: In “Head” group of letters “ea” sounds E and in “Made” letter “a” after M sounds also E instead of A for example in the word “AXE or APPLE”. What a confusion!

Early/infant reading requires Whole Word approach which is a method of literacy instruction that teaches learners to site words as a whole unit without breaking each word to a letter or groups of letters into single sounds. This encourages children to recognize the core words in a sentence rather than the sounds. An educator show the word, say it and also point an image linked to the word. Here an educator does not need to go school of phonetic.

In 21st Century Education system, Whole Word approach is a pragmatic shift of teaching reading to infant because anybody can teach reading hence children will start school while reading.

Our children are improving very fast in reading without phonetic approach. To collaborate with us and trumpet the shift, parents, care takers and educator can register at: to acquire an office365 platform for discussions, trainings, mentor and collaboration to improve reading in the society and ensure quality academic Sustainable Development Goal 4 is reached by 2030.

Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session:

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Dear Ozelle,

Our conference is focused on global education the context being globally connected teaching and learning. We need to see some opportunity for collaboration in your proposal or direct mention of how your work relates to the UN's SDGs. Make sure to include information that outlines the goals of your presentation and the key points that participants will learn during your presentation. Please add this information to your proposal by going to the OPTIONS button in the upper righthand corner of your proposal page and then saving the changes.

Review our mission for more information:


Lucy Gray

Conference Co-Chair

Well, I have edited the passage.

Kindly let me know if the proposal is now meeting the standard and mission of GEC.

Thank you.

Ozelle Stephen


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