Sustained silent reading
) is a form of school-based recreational reading, or free voluntary reading
, where students read silently in a designated time period every day in school. An underlying assumption of SSR is that students learn to read by reading constantly. Successful models of SSR typically allow students to select their own books and require neither testing for comprehension nor book reports. Schools have implemented SSR under a variety of catchy names, such as Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) or Free Uninterrupted Reading (FUR).
Value of Sustained silent reading
According to advocates, SSR has been shown to lead to gains in several literacy domains, especially comprehension. Advocates also point out that students in SSR programs have more positive attitudes toward reading than students who do not participate in SSR programs.
National Reading Panel analysis of sustained silent reading studies
The National Reading Panel
(NRP) in the United States meta-analyzed all quasiexperimental and experimental studies of SSR and challenged the claim that SSR has positive effects. The panel stated that the literature contained insufficient numbers of quasiexperimental or experimental studies on SSR to validate its use as a sound educational practice. The panel also noted that the absence of quantitative evidence was not evidence against the practice in itself. They recommended further study of SSR. The NRP's finding was somewhat contentious. Some advocates of SSR claimed the panel had ignored non-experimental findings favoring SSR. Moreover, some critics of the NRP suggested that the panel had worded its commentary on SSR to throw the practice into disfavor even though they admitted little evidence against the practice.
Sustained silent reading practices
A range of practices have been associated with SSR, and some advocates suggest that teacher models of reading behavior (i.e., teachers read while the students read), a long term commitment to SSR, availability of multiple level, high interest texts, and a sense of reading community are particularly relevant.
Free voluntary reading (FVR)
Free voluntary reading
) or recreation reading
, related to the comprehension hypothesis
, is an educational theory that says many student gains in reading can be encouraged by giving them time to read what they want without too many evaluative measures. Sustained silent reading is a method of implementing recreational and FVR theory.
In popular culture
DEAR and SSR play a cameo role in the Ramona Quimby
series of children's books by Beverly Cleary
, in which young Ramona uses her assignment as an excuse not to talk to an annoying younger child.