Sweeping Round Robin Reading Out of Your Classroom

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1 T EACHING LITERACY A Literacy Spring Cleaning: Sweeping Round Robin Reading Out of Your Classroom by Katherine Hilden and Jennifer Jones he classroom is quiet. All the students have However, the drawbacks of RRR and its many T the same book open on their desks. One student is reading aloud.Other students are counting ahead or gazing out into space.The student variations far outweigh the benefits. First, we know of no research evidence that supports the claim that RRR actually contributes to students becoming who just finished reading sighs with relief when her better readers, either in terms of their fluency or turn is over. comprehension. A list of drawbacks includes: Slower Reading Rates. Opitz and Rasinski Were describing Round Robin Reading (RRR) (1998) explain that oral reading is typically or one of its many variations. Weve all done it or much slower than silent reading. RRR Katherine at least seen it. In fact, over half of K-8 teachers encourages the audience to follow along and Hilden report using RRR or some variation of it in their sub-vocalize along with the student reading instruction (Ash, Kuhn, & Walpole, 2009). In aloud. Therefore, a large proportion of the RRR, all students are expected to follow along audience is likely reading slower than they were while individual students take turns reading, usually if they were reading silently to themselves. moving in a predictable pattern (e.g., up and down Lower Quantity. Related to the first point, if rows or around tables). However, this ever-popular RRR occurs frequently in a classroom, it may instructional practice enjoys little research support. actually lower the quantity of reading that individual students do over the course of a year. So what explains RRRs popularity? First, In a classroom of 20 students, it is likely that a some variations of Round Robin Reading lead child may read one twentieth of the time during to a superficial level of engagement. Popcorn a single reading period. This is simply not Reading (students read aloud in random order), enough. Struggling readers particularly need Combat Reading (students call on one another to access to connected text, which RRR limits read, trying to catch each other off task), and because they are only reading small pieces of Popsicle Reading (teacher writes students names text at a time. on popsicle sticks and then randomly pulls the Off-task behaviors. In RRR, all students are Jennifer Jones sticks to determine reading order) all involve oral expected to follow along while students take reading without prior practice with the text. In these turns reading, usually moving up and down variations, students never know when they will be rows or tables. One can often observe dysfluent called on and are forced to follow along in the text. and anxious students who are counting the In fact, while many teachers seem to know that sentences or paragraphs to find and repeatedly they should not be using Round Robin Reading, practice their section that they are responsible. they report that these variation strategies are less Once they read, they may breathe a sigh of damaging (Ash, et al., 2009). relief and mentally check out from the duration of the RRR activity. This perception leads to the second perceived Models of Dysfluent Reading. Effective benefitclassroom management. In classrooms modeling is central to research-based fluency where RRR happen, it is usually quiet except instruction. Students need to hear passages that for the one student reading. Thus, it is also an are accurately read at an appropriate pace with easy way to plan for a reading lesson as it is often prosody (appropriate phrasing and expression). applied to the whole class. Teachers also report Listening to peers read passages slowly, with using RRR to assess students fluency levels (Ash, many halting stutters and mistakes, does not et. al., 2009). Finally, RRR can often be found in accomplish this objective. the content area instruction as an attempt to make Problems with Comprehension. By itself, RRR sure that all students are reading the same material. will not help students comprehend better. RRR www.reading.org Register for IRA Chicago at www.iraconvention.org April/May 2012 Reading Today 23

2 does not encourage active meaning- Readers Theater: Readers Theater to the partnership (e.g., Fuchs, making. Passively listening to the involves a dramatic reading of a script Fuchs, Mathes, & Simmons, 1997). words as read by a peer does not mirror by multiple students. A group of The partners take turns being the the comprehension processes used by students rehearse by rereading their Coach and the Reader. The pair effective comprehenders. Further, lines over the course of a week and cycles through reading, rereading, the time off-task spent counting then performing for their peers. The and retelling. Similar to FORI, PALS paragraphs and pages ahead impedes performance usually involves minimal integrates comprehension strategies comprehension. props and costumes. Rather, the plot such as, summarizing, predicting, and Problems with Self-Efficacy and and emotion of the story is conveyed asking questions. Motivation. RRR frequently causes self- by the students expressive reading, esteem issues for students, especially making readers theater an excellent those who struggle with reading. way to improve prosody. In addition References Reading aloud in a whole class setting to benefitting students fluency, readers Note to the Reader: We have starred the references that frequently means public correction of theatre also has the potential to engage are especially teacher friendly. reading mistakes, either by the teacher students in the text in order to bring 1. Allington, R. L. (1980). Teacher interruption or peers (Allington, 1980). This also the characters and the action of the behaviors during primary grade oral reading. leads to fewer opportunities to self- story to life. (We recommend Young & Journal of Educational Psychology, 72, 371-377. correct these mistakes. Being forced Rasinski, 2005, for more information 2. Ash, G. E., Kuhn, M. R., & Walpole, S. to read aloud without opportunity on this strategy.) (2009). Analyzing inconsistencies in practice: to practice in advance causes many Teachers continued use of Round Robin students considerable anxiety and Reading. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 25, embarrassment, which can lead to 87-103. DOI:10.1080/10573560802491257 the reading-ahead behaviors discussed 3. Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L. S., Mathes, P. G., & previously. Combat Reading seems Simmons, D. C. (1997). Peer-assisted learning especially harmful to students reading strategies: Making classrooms more responsive to motivation. We have had reports of diversity. American Educational Research Journal, reading bullying where students 34, 174-206. intentionally pick on struggling readers 4. *Kuhn, M. R. (2009). The Hows and Whys of as a way to make fun of them during Fluency Instruction. Boston: Pearson. Combat Reading. A process that involves teacher modeling 5. National Institute of Child Health and Human and authentic reasons for multiple readings Development. (2000). Report of the National Consider replacing RRR with can provide struggling readers access to Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An instruction that provides students with otherwise difficult texts. evidence-based assessment of the scientific research motivating and authentic opportunities literature on reading and its implications for reading for repeated reading. Students who Fluency-Oriented Reading instruction (NIH Publication No. 00-4769). participate in repeated reading Instruction (FORI): This fluency Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing demonstrate better word identification, instructional routine was designed as Office. accuracy, and speed when reading a whole class approach (grades 2 and 6. *Opitz, M. F. & Rasinski, T. V. (1998). Good-bye (National Reading Panel, 2000). older) that used selections from grade- Round Robin: 25 Effective Oral Reading Strategies. Timed Repeated Reading: Students level basal readers (Stahl & Heubach, Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. read short passages at their 2005). Through a weekly cycle of 7. Stahl, S. A. & Heubach, K. M. (2005). Fluency- instructional reading level (read with teacher modeling, echo, choral, oriented reading instruction. Journal of Literacy 90-95% accuracy). First, a teacher and partner reading, FORI scaffolds Research, 37, 25-60. or adult should model reading the students through texts that might 8. *Young, C. & Rasinski, T. V. (2009). passage accurately with expression. otherwise be deemed too difficult for Implementing Readers Theatre as an approach Then students practice reading the struggling readers. We particularly to classroom fluency instruction. The Reading passage silently. Next the students read like FORI because comprehension is Teacher, 63 (1), 4-13. DOI: 1.1598/RT.63.1.1 the passage aloud as quickly as possible a key focus, woven into the weekly while still maintaining appropriate framework. Teachers have now Dr. Katherine (Katie) Hilden is an expression. Another student or the successfully applied FORI to small Assistant Professor of Literacy Education teacher records mistakes and times the groups and with a wider range of texts at Radford University in Radford, Virginia, reading. The student then graphs the including trade books and literature [email protected] speed and mistakes. This is repeated anthologies (Kuhn, 2009). numerous times. Over time students Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies Dr. Jennifer Jones is an Associate can monitor their progress. By graphing (PALS): The teacher matches low Professor of Literacy Education at the results, students are given visible and high-need students in ways that Radford University in Radford, Virginia, reminders of their reading growth. both readers can actively contribute [email protected] 24 Reading Today April/May 2012 Register for IRA Chicago at www.iraconvention.org www.reading.org

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