Perhaps most important, whole language classrooms rely on highly knowledgeable teachers—not prescriptive manuals of how and what to teach. Teachers must know how to use fiction and nonfiction by award-winning authors and illustrators to meaningfully teach reading and writing across the curriculum. In extreme cases, teachers have had to write their own curriculum in every subject area. It is no wonder that some teachers have floundered.
Without adequate professional development, many educators misinterpreted whole language to mean that all you need to do is immerse kids in books and they will learn to read as easily as they learn to speak. Also, some educators saw the teaching of phonics and skills as anti-whole language, and that has never been true. Phonics has always been part of whole language. And when some educators imply that spelling and grammar don't matter, they contribute to destroying the credibility and rigor of successful whole language teaching.