Such an interesting post by Russ Walsh (although I'm still processing the nine million dollars for research he mentions . . . ) Perhaps part of the problem is that when kids are reading in a highly-structured environment that emphasizes passing tests and "achieving" and "excellence", it sucks the joy out of the exercise?
There's also the same problem that I see with history curriculum, which is that we seem determined to reduce every part of education to a technical exercise, described in painful detail in lesson plans, which translates in the case of reading to a single-minded focus on phonics. I was intrigued by the idea of teachers' setting the stage for a book, introducing the story so that kids have a chance to build context. That's what historians do, even for each other (all books, chapters,and essays start with a story) and what teaching history is ultimately about: the building of context through story.