Here’s a problem that teachers have to deal with all too
often: Kids come to class not having read the assigned text,
or chapter, or article. What to do to move forward?
The solution for some has been to do an end run around such
assignments by having the students read the piece in class
instead. That takes a lot of instructional time and leads to
strategies like Round Robin Reading (RRR)—also called
Popcorn Reading or Combat Reading.
RRR is not really a comprehension strategy; it’s a
management tool. Kids keep quiet and listen because they
might be called on next. Worrying that they might get called
on next means they’re not paying attention to what is
currently being read. If the teacher is obvious about who’ll
read next, the students know when their turns are coming and
are rehearsing while someone else is laboring away at her
chunk of the text.
RRR is not a valid fluency strategy, either: With no chance
to rehearse what they’re reading, poor oral readers won’t do
well—and on top of that, they’re modeling poor reading for
others. And, there’s the embarrassment factor. I can
remember from my own schools days that some kids hated
reading aloud because they anticipated stumbling, and the
good readers hated it when the poor ones read for just that
But after all these years, teachers still use RRR. Why?
Because the kids are quiet, occupied, and the assignment
gets read. In other words, it’s all about management. So
okay. Round Robin Reading doesn’t promote fluency or
comprehension, but you still have to lick the
didn’t-read-the-assignment-before-class problem. (Click
below to read about an alternative practice you can try.)
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