Reading is thinking. Reading is about making meaning.
That system is not necessarily the most effective.
In The Writing on the Classroom Wall, Steve Wyborney touches on an idea in reading instruction that teachers would do well to consider - that reading does not always manifest itself during reading class. Reading shouldn't stop with the school bell.
When we read, we are doing so much more than just recognizing letter sounds.
...[Y]ou are the one interacting with the words and ideas, referencing them to your personal context and paradigms, and comparing them with many other factors. You are building layers of agreement (or disagreement), sensing possibilities, wondering what this might look like in your classroom...You are visualizing, interpreting, contemplating, and conducting myriad other acts associated with the wonder of reading.
We have to recognize that there is more going on with reading than phonics and fluency. As such, it might just take a while before some of those skills kick in. We've all been there - at a time when we suddenly understand that joke, or we suddenly figure out how to work that equation, or we suddenly remember that dream. Wyborney ably explains:
Sometimes the power of reading is found in between these moments, when the student simply says, "hmmm..." and her eyes drift away from the text in deep thought about the ideas that are churning. Sometimes the power of reading is found the next day, or the next week, or even years later when she actually sees "two roads diverge" and wonders a little more deeply about the choices each one might lead to.
I have long realized that combining skills is a more efficient method of disseminating information. That's not to say that we sacrifice quality for quantity in our instruction; it is to say that when I can make connections between standards and problem solving, reading and science, history and math, it means something more to my students. When they can see the meaningful connections, they pay better attention and they retain the information better.