What’s Wrong with Round Robin?
The practice of taking turns reading orally, commonly known as round robin reading, has been criticized and condemned for decades. Still, round robin reading persists in many classroom. Round robin reading has the potential to develop negative attitudes to reading through the anxiety developed over performance reading when it is “your turn” to read. Furthermore, the reader takes responsibility for only one section of the text and not the WHOLE text. Also, it is the teacher who is in control of who is going to read, whereas we are aiming for the reader to be independent and reading for a self-motivated purpose. Another issue to consider is what is the rest of the group doing while one child is reading? If they are attending to the text there is a temptation for them to jump in and say the word because the reader is stumbling, thus preventing the child from processing the text by him/herself. However, they are more likely to be either thinking about what they have to read or sighing with relief that their turn is over and so not attending to the text. Yes, it is time to say goodbye to Round Robin once and for all. There are many good ways to practice oral reading, but round robin reading certainly is not one of them.

Reasons why Round Robin won’t be missed:

• Gives a false idea of what oral reading sounds like

• Encourages listening while tracking (following along in a text)

• Almost guarantees off-task reading and listening behaviors

• Forces children to make their reading struggle public

• Makes oral reading more important than understanding

• Emphasizes “getting the words right” over meaning

• Encourages sub-vocalization (moving the lips)

• Can ultimately transfer to a slower silent reading rate

• Discourages the use of good reading miscues

• Tends to focus on low level feedback (correcting words)

• Wastes valuable time that could be used in other ways

• Risks committing the ultimate sin of embarrassing students!

SOURCE: Michael F. Opitz and Timothy V. Rasinski, Good-Bye Round Robin: 25 Effective Oral Reading Strategies.