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Current Issue Table of Contents | Back Issues

Volume 3 Number 7

Barbara & Sue Gruber help us "to stay energized and enthusiastic about teaching" during our summer break...
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong Teaching Procedures Is Teaching Expectations
Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers by Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber It's Summer---Rest, Relax, Recharge and Have Some Fun!
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall Observations From Last Year
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon Choice: Fountas and Pinnell or 4-Blocks?
Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno Building Emotional Intelligence
Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman & George París Conway Communication in Online Learning Environments: Framing Asynchronous Online Discussions
The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover I Didn't Know That!
Starting Over Again With a New Group and Learning About Them
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac Sites For Beginning Teachers Part 2
Ask the Literacy Teacher by Leigh Hall Sustained Silent Reading
July Articles
July Regular Features
July Informational Items
Gazette Home Delivery:

About Leigh Hall...
Leigh Hall is a doctoral student at Michigan State University in the Department of Teacher Education where she specializes in Literacy. Before coming to Michigan, Leigh was a middle school language arts and social studies teacher in Houston, Texas. It was this experience that introduced her to working with students who had a variety of abilities and needs in the areas of reading and writing. Leigh has experience in working with children who have learning disabilities and who perform below grade level. She is also certified to work with students who do not speak English as their native language.

Upon completing her degree from Michigan State, Leigh hopes to start a career as an Assistant Professor and to do research that addresses students who struggle with reading. She hopes that what she learns both now and in the future can be passed on to teachers in a way that is useful to both them and their students.

Questions for this column that pertain to the teaching of reading and writing are welcomed. Questions in this area that deal with students performing below grade level, are not native speakers of English or who have learning disabilities are strongly encouraged. In addition, teachers from all subject areas and grade levels should feel free to submit their questions. This column is meant to help us all think about how we use reading and writing in our classrooms and is not meant to be exclusive to elementary teachers or to reading and language arts teachers.

Please submit your questions to:

Ask the Literacy Teacher
by Leigh Hall
Sustained Silent Reading

Please submit your questions to:

Dear Literacy Teacher,

I'm a first year teacher (grade two) who is confused about the controversy related to the effectiveness of SSR (Sustained Silent Reading). In my readings I find "experts" on both sides. One says have the kids read, read, read. The other says SSR doesn't produce the results it's claimed to produce. Which, in your opinion, is correct?


Dear Sean,

The fact that you find experts on both sides should tell you that there probably isn't one correct answer. Instead of trying to determine if SSR is correct, let's look at it another way. First, what do you want SSR to achieve? Do you want your students to become more fluent readers and spend more time reading to themselves? Second, who are your students? Are they gifted, average, struggling to read, or a combination of all these things?

I think the first thing you have to do is determine what you want your students to get out of SSR. Decide how you want it to help them. This will probably not be the same for everyone. For example, you may want one of your more reluctant readers to simply spend fifteen minutes reading the same book while you may want a second student to choose books that are more challenging. Determine who your readers are and what you want SSR to do for them.

When you read books and articles on SSR pay close attention to who they are written for. If someone claims that SSR does not produce the results it is supposed to, think about the population of students that they sampled from. Does this population of students match the ones you teach? If so, the recommendations may apply. If not, you may want to consider the recommendations but take into account other things you have read as well. This also applies to research that claims SSR is effective. If you find research to be contradicting you may find that researchers disagree on the population of students that SSR works for and how it helps them.

Suggested Reading:

The SSR Handbook: How to Organize and Manage a Sustained Silent Reading Program
by Janice L. Pilgreen, Stephen D. Krashen

Past Gazette Articles by Leigh Hall