"In a suite of recent studies, Waldorf 8th-grade graduates meet or exceed their public school peers on test scores measuring science, math and reading abilities.
But when parents see no formal phonics reading instruction in a Waldorf Kindergarten, no worksheets in grade one and two, and no early reader books in classrooms, they still worry. Many parents know that there is an active debate going on in education about how best to teach children to read. Some call it the whole language vs. phonics debate. Others refer to it as a focus on either decoding or comprehension.
...Waldorf students are given the time they need to develop both an interest in reading and the capabilities to comprehend the more difficult texts they eventually decode."