Drop Everything And Read
SMS faculty and staff understand the importance of providing students with time to read for enjoyment. That is why every Friday during Homeroom the entire school community finds their book of choice and reads for 20 uninterrupted minutes.
Sustained silent reading, also known as SSR, is independent, quiet reading. A block of time -- typically 10 to 30 minutes -- is regularly devoted to recreational reading. Many teachers incorporate this approach in classrooms, and some administrators have instituted schoolwide SSR programs. Since reading is an individual act for the most part, it is natural to read silently. When teachers or parents offer sustained silent reading time, children reap the benefits.
Enhances Reading Enjoyment
Readers choose their own materials for sustained silent reading, so children can pick books of interest. Adults must ensure that children are given many options. Parents and teachers can take kids to the library and let them pick books using the five finger test. The child reads a random page in a book. He extends one finger for each word he doesn't know. If he puts out four or five fingers, the book is probably too difficult. When they are given the freedom to choose, kids discover stories that appeal to them, and they develop a positive attitude toward reading. There are no tests or questions to answer, so the pressure is off. They are reading for the pure joy of reading.
Readers don't have to pay as much attention to the pronunciation of every single word when they read silently, so they can concentrate on reading for understanding. As vocabulary, fluency and motivation increase, so does comprehension. Children read books at their own level and their own pace. They can visualize and interpret the words in their own way. Some teachers provide time after SSR for students to share their thoughts on the books they're reading. This helps them recall, and it reinforces comprehension. Students are required to read silently for standardized tests, and sustained silent reading provides effective practice.
Silent reading provides the opportunity to learn the meanings of many new words in context. Kids are able to discover word definitions in an interesting way without any direct instruction. They tend to be more open to this method of learning new words than they would be if they were involved in intensive, forced vocabulary instruction. Children will apply the word attack skills they've learned to figure out new words on their own.
Improves Writing Skills
There is a well-established link between reading and writing. When children are engrossed in silent reading, they observe a variety of writing styles and sentence structures that influence their own writing styles. Since they are able to concentrate on the words they're reading, grammar and spelling typically improve. Consistent, independent reading inspires a creative thought process that transfers to the written word. Some teachers combine sustained silent writing with SSR. After the students read silently, they write in dialogue journals to reflect on what they've just read. The teacher doesn't correct the writing, she simply responds, using corrected spelling words and grammar structures in her response.
Written by Karen LoBello