Part-to-Whole Instructional Strategies & Examples

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  • 0:00 Instructional Strategies
  • 1:03 Part-to-Whole
  • 2:35 Pros and Cons
  • 4:33 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Do you know the expression '~'You need to crawl before you can walk?~' Part-to-whole instructional strategies take that approach, and in this video we'll explore what they are and how teachers can use them in the classroom.

Instructional Strategies

Amber is a new teacher. She's very excited to start her first year as a teacher, and she can't wait to help all of her students learn how to read. But Amber's also a little nervous. She knows that she is responsible for a classroom full of young minds and isn't really sure how she should teach them so that they learn the best way possible.

An instructional strategy is a way of approaching teaching. Essentially, it's a plan for how to teach something. For example, Amber knows that she can teach reading by having the children sound out words, or she can teach them by just reading to them over and over until they start recognizing words on their own. She can focus on reading them good books, or on having them take practice tests so they'll be prepared for the state tests. All of these are instructional strategies.

Let's look closer at one type of instructional strategy, the part-to-whole strategy, and its strengths and limitations.


Amber wants to teach her students how to read, and she's looking for the best instructional strategy possible. One of her fellow teachers recommends that she use the part-to-whole instructional strategy for teaching reading, and Amber wonders, 'What is that?'

Part-to-whole strategies involve teaching things by starting with the most basic unit of something and working up to a more complex system. It's kind of like learning to swim by first learning to move your arms and then learning to move your legs and then moving them together and then moving them together in the water. Just like the name suggests, you are learning the parts first and then putting them together to learn the whole exercise.

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