Welcome to Thing 9!

You will be learning
  • the importance of SSR
  • research supporting SSR
  • tips and tricks for a successful SSR program


Silent Sustained Reading (SSR) has many names but the basic idea is to give students time during school hours to read for pleasure. SSR is based upon a single simple principle: "Reading is a skill-and the more you use it, the better you get at it."-Jim Trelease, The Read Aloud Handbook.

Why should we spend valuable school time on SSR?
  • SSR positively affects students' comprehension, vocabulary knowledge, spelling, writing ability, and overall academic achievement more than any other literacy activity!
  • Students are more likely to read a book at home that they have started reading at school.
  • The highest achievers on reading tests (regardless of income) were students who were read to by their teachers daily and those who read the most pages for pleasure daily.
  • SSR creates a positive attitude toward the library, voluntary reading, assigned reading, and the importance of reading.
  • Remedial and reluctant readers are the biggest beneficiaries of SSR. Source
  • Low income students benefit because SSR increases their access to books. Source
  • For more reasons see the work of Stephen Krashen

Ideas for the Classroom

In order to achieve optimal results SSR programs should follow these guidelines:
  • Regularity: daily for at least 10-15 minutes
  • Appeal: reading materials must be chosen by the student
  • Access: students must have access to a variety of reading materials
  • Staff Support: the teacher must also read {This cannot be stressed too strongly}
  • Non-accountability: no reports are required of the student Source

What would cause SSR to fail?
  1. Teachers who are supervising instead of reading.
  2. Classrooms that lack enough SSR reading materials.

Your Task

If your school has a SSR program in place, be honest when evaluating your role in the school's SSR program. Think about these questions: Do you read during SSR?, Do you support the SSR program?, Do you do your best to make SSR effective in your classroom?, What can you do to make SSR more effective with your students?, Have you ever shared research about and reasons for SSR with your students?
If your school does not currently have SSR think about how you could alter the schedule to fit one in. Think of ways you could implement SSR in your classroom even if you do not have a set time in the school schedule.
Post a comment on Edmodo describing how you can make SSR work in your classroom or how you will change to make it better. Include the book you are currently reading in your post.

Extra Credit

Studies show that teachers do not read more than the general population {Science teachers lead the pack while social studies teacher trail behind).
Despite the studies, teachers should be reading role models, especially for those children whose parents cannot or will not do the job. Make a conscious effort to read for pleasure and share what you are reading with your students. Post a "Currently Reading" sign on your door to share easily. Have a short discussion with your class after SSR about what you are reading and allow them to share and recommend books to you. Talking with your students about reading just a few minutes a week will go a long way towards creating a positive attitude about reading.

Sources & Further Reading:

The Power of Reading by Stephen Krashen
The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller
The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

-Tamara Cox