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‘Sustained silent reading (SSR) is a form of school-based recreational reading, or free voluntary reading, where students read silently in a designated time period on a regular basis at 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.’ (Sustained…. 2015)

The program operating at St Michael’s College follows these guidelines quite vigorously. We aim for staff and students to meet for 30 minutes once a week in Weeks 2 and 3 of every 3 week cycle.

‘According to advocates such as Stephen Krashen, (Professor Emeritus at the University of Southern California) SSR has been shown to lead to gains in several literacy domains. Krashen looked at a large number of studies to see what conclusions were supported by empirical evidence. He found that in respect to reading comprehension, SSR is successful; 51 of 54 studies found that students in an SSR program scored as well as, or better than, other students in this regard. It is most successful when used for longer periods of time. Furthermore, SSR was shown to create a reading habit. Several years after participating in a program, students reported more reading. One study found that a single SSR session was enough to change attitudes about reading. Long-term effects of SSR include better vocabularies, better writing skills, better spelling, and greater knowledge of literature, science, and practical knowledge.’ (Krashen, S 2003)

At St Michael’s College, we have found that the instigation of SSR has led to increased library borrowing, greater interest by most students in developing favourite genres to select from and a general excitement about searching for something interesting to read.