The trick to drill segments is to keep them fast-paced, engaging, and targeted to the actual needs of your students. There needs to be a direct instructional period daily that focuses on these skills, and then students need to be shown how these skills are applied in "real reading." If we go too far in the direction of the whole language approach, then we try to run before walking, which can frustrate readers. Small groups are key in differentiating instruction and are the perfect setting for developing these needed skills. It also helps in the early grades for learning activities to have a game-like quality. That way students are able to have fun while they learn. We use a program for small groups of first graders that cost a whopping $34.95, and with that, in conjunction with a large selection of leveled books that we share, we spend a half hour in small groups four days a week. This, in addition to the Houghton Mifflin basal reading program has been very successful. The secret, however is in ongoing assessments so that you are focusing on the needed skills, and not wasting your time. In case anyone is interested, the program we use for small-group instruction is called The Reading Teacher's Plan Book by Marjorie Conrad. For 35 bucks, it is amazing, and I'm sure you can find it on google with the title and author's name. When we started using it we were able bring up our scores 8% the first year on the end of level testing. Good Luck!