Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum
Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum
Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) gives students a chance to spend time reading independently. Different schools approach SSR in different ways. While some may require language arts students to read quietly for a brief interval once a week, others have instituted programs like DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) in which everyone in the entire school reads for a set period every day. In some classrooms, all students read the same text; in others, individuals choose from a class library or bring outside reading.
When followed up with small literature-circle discussions, journal writing, or a whole-class discussion, SSR can help build a foundation for reader-response methods. It gives students private time to reflect and interact with the text, and to make meaning of what they're reading, without having to do so at someone else's pace. Students can then discuss what they've read with others in the class, sharing their reactions and ideas. Teachers might find it helpful to pose general questions about students' readings (e.g., What are the qualities of a hero or heroine? How does the author let you know when something happens?) in order to prompt further discussion and enhance understanding. With continued use, SSR builds the kind of self-motivated reading habits that are necessary for reader response.
Teachers interested in instituting SSR programs should provide a few tools:
It has been shown that students who engage in SSR regularly read more, enjoy reading more, and read a greater variety of texts, both in and out of school. Allowing time for reading as part of the daily lesson highlights the importance of silent engagement with texts, and it encourages students to see this as a natural and even pleasurable process. In general, SSR attempts to build the habits of a lifelong learner by modeling reading behavior.