Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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the expanding canon teaching multicultural literature
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Reader Response: Pat Mora and James Welch Reader Response: Keith Gilyard and Mourning Dove Inquiry: Rudolfo Anaya and James Baldwin Inquiry: Tomás Rivera and Esmeralda Santiago Cultural Studies: Ishmael Reed and Graciela Limón Cultural Studies: N. Scott Momaday and Russell Leong Critical Pedagogy: Octavia E. Butler and Ruthanne Lum McCunn Critical Pedagogy: Abiodun Oyewole and Lawson Fusao Inada
Theory Overview Lesson Plans Teaching Strategies Authors and Literary Works Resources
Session 1 Cultural Studies: Pat Mora and James Welch - Teaching Strategies

Sustained Silent Reading
Identifying Compelling Lines from the Text
Publishing Student Writing


REFLECTION - Interactive Forum

Explore two poems using four approaches.


Share your views on the discussion

Download the Session 1 Guide

Sustained Silent Reading


Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) gives students a chance to spend time reading independently. Different schools approach SSR in different ways. While some may require language arts students to read quietly for a brief interval once a week, others have instituted programs like DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) in which everyone in the entire school reads for a set period every day. In some classrooms, all students read the same text; in others, individuals choose from a class library or bring outside reading.

When followed up with small literature-circle discussions, journal writing, or a whole-class discussion, SSR can help build a foundation for reader-response methods. It gives students private time to reflect and interact with the text, and to make meaning of what they're reading, without having to do so at someone else's pace. Students can then discuss what they've read with others in the class, sharing their reactions and ideas. Teachers might find it helpful to pose general questions about students' readings (e.g., What are the qualities of a hero or heroine? How does the author let you know when something happens?) in order to prompt further discussion and enhance understanding. With continued use, SSR builds the kind of self-motivated reading habits that are necessary for reader response.

Teachers interested in instituting SSR programs should provide a few tools:
  • a class library or access to a choice of books
  • a set amount of uninterrupted time (20-30 minutes)
  • space in the classroom, if possible, where students can read comfortably
  • a structured way for students to respond to what they've read after SSR (e.g., journal writing, sharing responses with a partner or small peer group, or a whole-class discussion on some topic common to all the books)
It has been shown that students who engage in SSR regularly read more, enjoy reading more, and read a greater variety of texts, both in and out of school. Allowing time for reading as part of the daily lesson highlights the importance of silent engagement with texts, and it encourages students to see this as a natural and even pleasurable process. In general, SSR attempts to build the habits of a lifelong learner by modeling reading behavior.

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