WHAT IS SSR?
WHAT IS SSR? Sustained silent reading (SSR) is a form of school-based reading, or free voluntary reading, where students read silently in a designated time period every day in school which goes by many names: SSR, DIRT (daily independent reading) or DEAR (drop everything and read).
The aim of the SSR is to help students develop a good habit of reading and improve their English proficiency in the long run. They select their own reading material and are not asked to answer comprehension questions or write book reports. 51 of 54 studies found that students in an SSR program scored as well as, or better than, other students in this regard.
Since SSR involves amounts of natural reading, it is probable that this practice fosters vocabulary growth. The researchers state that the findings indicate that reading is a most effective way to produce large-scale vocabulary growth.
Students read a self-selected book for the first 10-15 minutes of each daily 55-minute class. They also checked the books out and were encouraged to read at home.
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.
Strategies for success
Make a commitment to SSR and stick to it. You won’t see any results if you’re inconsistent scheduling the time.
- Improve reading posture and attitude: Sit up straight in a straight-backed chair at a desk or table with good lighting and keep your feet flat on the floor. Not perfectly comfortable? Good! Reading is not supposed to be relaxing; it is supposed to be stimulating.
- Improve concentration: Begin with short, uninterrupted reading sessions with 100% concentration and gradually increase the length of your sessions until you can read for 30 minutes.
- Improve reading rhythm: The reading speed should be hurried, but consistent. Use your dominant hand to pace your reading. Keep three fingers together and pace your reading under each line. Move your hand at a consistent, but hurried rate.
- Improve eye movement: Focus on the center of the page and use your peripheral vision to view words to the left and right. Focus one-third of the way into the text line, then two-thirds of the way, for book text.
References: Krashen, Stephen D. Free vocabulary Reading
Chow, Ping-Ha. Evaluatiny sustained silent Reading in Reading Classes
Keren Lobells, The advantages of SSR
Mark Pennington, MA Reading Specialist