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Sustained Silent Reading

Sustained Silent Reading is one of those common sense ideas that is so obvious and uncomplicated it is often overlooked in today's complex educational scheme.

-- Jim Trelease


Students and teachers reading texts at their independent reading level for an uninterrupted period of time.

Teacher Role

Before During After
  • Set up a classroom library
  • Know independent reading level of students for appropriate book selection
  • Teach "book selecting" strategies to students
  • Set up expectations for SSR time
  • READ!
  • Encourage students to connect SSR to previous experiences (text to text, text to self, and text to the world)
  • Connect SSR experience to small group, whole group and read aloud skill instruction

Student Role

Before During After
  • Select "just right" books (level and interest)
  • READ!
  • Share ideas, opinions, and experiences related to the text


  • The more students read and write, the more their prior knowledge grows, which in turn, strengthens their ability to construct meaning as they read. (Allington & Cunningham, 1996)
  • Students considered at risk need more time to read—really read in real texts—in contrast to drills in particular skills. (Allington, 1994)
  • "Just plain reading" improves students comprehension, vocabulary knowledge, ability to monitor their own reading for sense, disposition to read independently and English grammar skills. (Herman, Anderson, Pearson, & Nagy, 1987)