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Why I Never Use Popcorn Reading

Finding a way to engage students during long oral reading passages is a common problem for teachers. Popcorn reading (or the practice of calling on students randomly to read aloud) is a popular choice for a whole group reading activity. However, I do not use popcorn reading in my classroom because I feel that there are several problems with this popular practice. Why I Don't Like Popcorn Reading 1. Popcorn Reading Doesn't Work for Struggling Readers Popcorn reading is a stressful experience for struggling readers. The struggling readers can be embarrassed about their limited reading ability in front of their peers. Struggling readers need activities that build their confidence, not activities that make the feel uncomfortable in front of their peers. Forced oral reading can create lifelong negative attitudes towards reading. In addition, when a struggling reader is reading aloud, their lack of fluency can impair the comprehension of their classmates. 2. Decreased Engagement Even though students know they may be called on at any time, the attention of the students who are not reading aloud begins to wander during long passages. What I Use Instead of Popcorn Reading Instead of popcorn reading, I prefer to use choral reading. Choral reading gives all students a chance to practice oral reading simultaneously. It also provides a model of fluent reading for struggling readers and a valuable oral language model for ELLs. To find out how to start using choral reading in your classroom read my previous post here.

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