2020 - Sustained Silent Reading (SSR)- 20 Minutes at the Start of Each Lesson including Literacy Block Factors for Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) Success
Benefits of Independent Reading (SSR)
Increased vocabulary development
Greater domain and background knowledge
Better fluency and comprehension
Improved reading achievement
Greater interest in books and motivation to read
Moss and Young (2010)
Factors for Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) Success
Eaglehawk Secondary College's Eight shared components of successful silent reading programs. 1. Access Students must have access to books. This may mean collecting books and creating a classroom library. Teachers can also take their students to the library, working collaboratively with Dani Duval to help students choose books. We could also access Borrow Box from the Goldfields Library.
2. Appeal "Broadly defined, appeal means that reading materials are sufficiently interesting and provocative enough for students to want to read them" (Pilgreen 9). Part of the appeal of books also comes from choice; reading material is not assigned during SSR and students are free to read - within limitations of school and parental guidelines - whatever they choose. Students should be able to read from a wide variety of sources, types, and genres, as well as having options from different reading levels, so that everyone is able to find something that they like and that they can comprehend. EAL students can read in their own language.
3. Conducive Environment Sustained silent reading should be silent. Reading time should be quiet and uninterrupted; perhaps set a timer so that students will not be distracted by keeping track of when sustained silent reading period will end. This can also mean making classrooms more comfortable. Students can be invited to stretch out on the floor or teachers can have pillows or beanbag chairs for students to use when reading. Think about what it is like to settle down in the coffee shop of your favourite bookstore, then create the same kind of atmosphere for your students. When SSR is associated with comfort and privileges – not rules – students are able to experience reading in the most satisfying and comfortable way possible.
4. Encouragement "Without encouragement to read, reluctant readers may never see what devoted readers already know: that reading can open doors for them in ways that no other activity can, that it's pleasurable, and that it can become a rewarding, lifetime habit". Teacher participation in sustained silent reading time is an essential form of encouragement. Adult modelling of free reading provides students with a positive image and shows students that teachers value reading. Teachers can also work as a resource for students, making recommendations based on students' interest and having individual and classroom conversations after reading time. Introducing a social element can be very encouraging to students. If students share their books with their peers, they will witness other students enjoying reading and it will be viewed as an acceptable and pleasurable activity.
5. Staff It is really important that, if SSR is a school-wide English activity, all teachers buy in and commit to the program. The role of the teacher is an active one in SSR. Denying the assumption that sustained silent reading is not actually teaching.
6. Non-Accountability "The key to non-accountability... is to omit any activity that gives students the message that they are responsible for completing a task, comprehending a particular portion of their reading, or showing they have made improvement in some way". Essentially, students should not feel any sort of obligation towards SSR; the reading should be purely for enjoyment. Students should not be assessed or evaluated on their sustained silent reading. However, there are activities that do engage and entertain students after SSR.
7. Follow-Up Activities Follow-up activities extend the excitement of reading a good book. Teachers are to discuss and recommend books they have read following SSR. This can involve teacher-to-student, student-to-student, and whole-class discussions. If some students have chosen to read the same book, they can have conversations about the story, similar to that of a book group. Book sharing could also be more creative, having students create something exciting to interest their classmates in what they have read; however, students should never feel that these activities are evaluative in nature.
8. Distributed Time to Read This is a question of how long should students be given to read and how often SSR should take place. Studies have shown that generally between 15 and 30 minutes to read is optimal. The length of time given to read is less influential on student success than the frequency with which students are given SSR time. SSR needs to be an habitual activity. At Eaglehawk Secondary College we will be completing 20 minutes of Sustained Silent Reading.