Sustained Silent Reading
Most administrators and educators, if asked what is the area that needs the most improvement in schools today, would answer reading. Children seem to battle with reading at almost every grade level. As reported by Trelease (2006) students do not read very much. In one reported study, 90% of the students studied devoted only 1 percent of their free time to reading and 30% to watching television. Fifty percent of the students read for an average of four minutes or less per day, 30% read two minutes per day, and 10% read nothing at all (p. 1). These statistics only serve to worsen the fear of students low reading abilities. Educators have developed a myriad of programs to improve students’ comprehension,
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Reading in the SSR program is entirely for pleasure. However, many teachers admit they have changed the SSR program to add social time; that is they have the children share experiences, read to each other and share books. The children also discuss their books in the classroom after having read for a specific amount of time (Lee-Daniels & Murray, 2000). Bryan, Fawson, and Reutzel (2003) comment very few studies deal with social interaction and feedback combined with SSR in order to increase its efficacy and encourage children to be more engaged in their reading. As Bryan et al considered the non-engaged readers in a study classroom, they concluded that perhaps sporadic discussions during SSR would motivate these types of students to enjoy reading silently (p. 52). Non-engaged readers are those who are not interested in reading, rarely participate in discussions, lack reading goals, do not concentrate when they read, are easily distracted, and behave in a way that distracts their classmates (2003, p. 53). From their observations and experience, Bryan, Fawson, and Reutzel concluded that it much more effective for a teacher to allow students to have short discussions with their peers, in a small group, and even on a one-to-one basis than for the teachers to spend their time “modeling silent sustained reading” (2003, p. 68). In addition, teachers should have discussions with the students to determine what they enjoy reading.