Sustained Silent Reading Time

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What Is Sustained Silent Reading (SSR)?

"Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) is a period of uninterrupted silent reading. It is based upon a single simple principle: Reading is a skill. And like all skills, the more you use it, the better you get at it. Conversely, the less you use it, the more difficult it is. Like swimming, once you learn it, you never forget it. But in order to get better at either reading or swimming, you must jump into the book or the water and do it over and over."

How much do students read? As reported in the excerpt from Jim Trelease's book, The Read Aloud Handbook, 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. 50% 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. In a comprehensive seven-year study conducted by John Goodlad, A Place Called School, it was reported that only 3 percent of class time is occupied by the act of reading in the middle school, and 2 percent in the high school.

Guidelines for Using Sustained Silent Reading Time

  1. Students must read for the entire allotted reading period.
  2. You cannot do homework or read any material for another course. SSR is not a study hall.
  3. You must read a book (no magazines or newspapers where text competes with pictures), preferably one that tells a story (e.g. novels, histories and biographies rather than books of lists or facts where readers canít sustain attention, build up speed and fluency, or grow to love good stories.)
  4. You must have a book in your possession when SSR times starts; this is the main responsibility involved in coming prepared to class.
  5. You may not talk or disturb the others.
  6. You may sit or recline wherever you like as long as feet donít go up on the furniture and rule #5 is maintained.
  7. Please don't ask to leave the room at this time. It disturbs others.