Reading Rockets is a program that is used in many elementary schools to assist struggling readers. Individualized extra reading practice is provided and students are encouraged to read more at home. One of the enormous positives of Reading Rockets is their website which offers a wealth of information about learning to read. Jan Hasbrouck, an affiliate of the University of Oregon, has many articles published on the site. One, For Students Who are Not Yet Fluent, Silent Reading is Not the Best Use of Classroom Time, talks more about what not to do than what to do.
The author identifies the problems with sustained silent reading and DEAR reading- poor and unmotivated readers may not use the time well (fake reading anyone?)- and with Round Robin Reading- humiliation of the poor readers, boredom of the proficient readers and little practice for everyone. Her one positive suggestion is that proficient readers read independently while the teacher works with small groups of struggling readers to develop foundational skills.
While it is good to identify what is not good practice, it is at least as important to identify what is. This article fails to do so. Repeated reading, modeled fluent reading and think alouds are all research proven strategies that do promote fluency development. Lets focus on that.