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Reading Reconsidered: A Practical Guide to Rigorous Literacy Instruction

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Discussions about whole-class reading can be muddied by terminology. Names for whole-class reading include ​ ‘Round Robin Reading’, ​ ‘Popcorn Reading’ and ​ ‘Control the Game’. The latter is advocated in Doug Lemov’s popular ​ ‘ Teach Like aChampion’ series and, most recently, his book ​ ‘ Reading Reconsidered’. Shanahan’s point is that reading aloud is valuable insofar as it improves students’ reading fluency, which is strongly associated with comprehension (e.g. see the EEF’s most recent guidance on literacy at key stage 2). But, Shanahan argues, students need large volumes of practice to improve reading fluency – taking turns one-at-a-time is ahighly inefficient way of providing this.

Shanahan is Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chi­cago, and has led the US Government’s National Reading Panel. Recently on his blog, he fielded aquestion about the effectiveness of whole-class reading approaches, where one student reads aloud while their classmates follow thetext For Shanahan, preferable alternatives include reading in pairs, where students alternate after each paragraph, choral reading, where students and teachers read the same section of the text simultaneously, and repeated reading, where students read the same passage multiple times. In all cases, Shanahan argues that students read more and have greater opportunities to improve fluency, citing studies reviewed by the US National Reading Panel (NIHCD, 2000

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