The Big Question:
Should struggling readers participate in sustained silent reading (SSR)?
Having yet to look at specific research, my answer is initially a resounding YES! Why wouldn’t they? But as I think about it I realize that reading without help when you aren’t sure what to do or how to succeed is extremely frustrating, and rather discouraging. It can lower self-esteem, self-efficacy (belief in your ability), and keep you from persevering. Worst case scenario—you give up on reading altogether. So is it good to ask kids to sit and read when they don’t have the tools to succeed in this venture? Is there a way to ask them to read independently while empowering them so that they are not alone? I’m curious and excited to see what the experts have to say about this. A few factors I believe will likely play into this discussion, or questions that I have.
1. What age are these struggling readers?
2. What are they reading?
3. Does SSR always look the same or do different schools do this differently?
4. Can we modify SSR to be beneficial to every student?
I’m a reader, and I have always loved to read. I remember the first time that I picked up a chapter book and didn’t stop reading or move from my spot till I was done. I was sitting on the white carpet in my room by my dresser, almost in the doorway. I was reading The Bad Beginning (Series of Unfortunate Events #1). I will never forget this day, and I want all children to experience this euphoria. SSR may not be the way to get this response, however, so I am open to seeing what the research has to say.
Note: I will be blogging about the research I do this next week over this topic as I work on a paper and presentation for my Diagnosis and Correction of Reading Problems course (EDU343).