When we create small ten-minute pockets during class for the kids to read whatever they want, called Free Voluntary Reading as per Krashen, we are putting far too much emphasis on that kind of reading. Why?
Because the research wasn’t done in classrooms, where there are so many distractions, and where the kids are encountering reading material they really don’t know, with tons of words they don’t know.
Nor do the kids particularly care about reading in class, which shoots the “voluntary” part in the acronym out of the water.
Nor can they accrue any meaningful amount of minutes in the hustle and bustle of their school days where thoughts about other things dominate their ability to focus.
Students need to be brought along far more slowly. They must be given texts to read that they built in class with their teammates so that everyone knows the words in the reading, as per the Star. This keeps the group together, on the same footing, with no one being excluded because teachers in their past have given them to think that they are not as smart or as fast a processor as certain other students in the room.
Online, forget it.
Free Voluntary Reading, therefore, like many things that “should” work in WL programs, doesn’t, for lots of reasons.
If you want to say FVR works for you in your physical classroom, then put an asterisk* next to it.
*Say this, “FVR reading works for my better students – kind of…”.