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Department of Reading and Language

at the National College of Education at National Louis University

ul 4.15.13


Recently, there has been much attention paid to early literacy instruction, with stories about ineffective literacy instruction making an appearance on NPR, in the New York Times, and on PBS’s The NewsHour. It is important to know that there have long been differing perspectives on this topic, with some even using the term “The Reading Wars.” In the 1980s and 1990s, there was a perceived battle between Whole Language and Phonics Only instruction. Today, it is “Balanced Literacy” vs. “The Science of Reading.” As reading faculty at National Louis University, we see this as a polarizing and ultimately unproductive dichotomy. In preparing pre-service teachers and reading specialists to assess and teach literacy, our approach is to address the needs of individual students. Using formative assessments, we advocate for learning about the strengths and struggles of students, and providing instruction that best serves those students. For some, this would certainly be phonics instruction, whereas for others, the focus may be on comprehension, or engagement, or writing. There isn’t a single approach to teaching reading that will work for all children, as much as we may wish that were the case. The term “Balanced Literacy” simply means that we consider all aspects of literacy: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, writing, speaking and listening, and use engaging and authentic materials to provide differentiated instruction that builds on student strengths and supports their unique challenges.


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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