Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Good-Bye Round Robin: Twenty Five Effective Oral Reading Strategies

Optiz, M.F, Rasinski, T.V. (1998) Good-Bye Round Robin: Twenty Five Effective Oral Reading Strategies. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann

This is a fascinating book about how to eliminate round robin reading in the classroom. In the first chapter, the authors begin with the understanding that reading is a “complex, multidimensional process in which readers bring their own meaning and experiences to the printed page to obtain meaning from it.” (1) Optiz and Rasinski see reading as language, cognitive process, and a social activity.

Although in later years most reading is done silently, they understand the need to hear children read and to be read to aloud. They state 12 reasons oral reading should occur:

1. To whet student’s appetite for reading
2. To share or perform
3. To help beginning readers understand how speaking is related
4. To develop listening comprehension and vocabulary
5. To develop other skills associated with reading
6. To promote language learning for second language learners
7. To build confidence
8. To further develop comprehension
9. To determine strategies used when reading
10. To provide a means of sharing reading progress
11. To provide children with additional reading time to grow
12. To address standards

They also note why round robin reading is not an effective way to teach reading:
1. Students begin to see reading as accuracy and word perfect, when in actuality when reading aloud we want to share information, which is lost when following word to word.
2. Faulty habits may also develop, listening to each other and following along, when children have different reading rates, could cause loss of meaning.
3. Oral reading is slower than silent reading, causing those following along to hear unnecessary subvocalization, which can reduce reading rates.
4. Most children have a hard time following along, they’re either reading ahead, practicing their part, or not paying attention. Passage meaning is lost.
5. Emergent readers are often given words they’re having trouble with before they can use their strategies to solve it. Less practice means they won’t develop strong reading strategies.
6. Oral reading takes longer, therefore it wastes valuable class time.
7. It can cause anxiety and embarrassment for some students.
8. Listening comprehension can be hampered.

Although there are benefits of oral reading, how it is implemented in the classroom is important. Round robin reading prohibits rather than facilitates reading ability. The author’s feel that if oral reading is properly used, it can be positive.

After reading the introduction and first chapter it made me realize how important oral reading is, but in the right context. All that the authors stated made sense. It made me think about how I work with children in reading, and how I could change the way I run my reading time to most benefit the students. I used some of the strategies with my class, and met with mixed results. I’m not sure if it was because it involved change or whether they truly didn’t like it. I will have to try the strategies out some more to find out.

“Using oral reading to assess reading is important because it reveals specific strategies children use, as well as those that require further development.” (XI)

“We encourage you to celebrate your successes, persist, and keep in mind that children are always worth our best efforts.” (XII)

“Reading is not dancing on top of words. It is grasping the soul of them.” Friere – 1985 (3)

“Good comprehenders are those who demonstrate an understanding of this complexity by using a variety of strategies, when reading. These strategies include determining which information is most important, self-questioning, summarizing, inferring, prediction, interpreting, and imaging.” (Dole, Duffy, Roehler, & Pearson 1991) (12)

“The purpose of reading is to understand a message.” (14)

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