By Jodi Crum Marshall, Janet Allen
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Extra resources for Are they really reading?: expanding SSR in the middle grades
If possible, take your classes to your local library. This will ensure that your students know where it is and what it has to offer, and that they all have a card with which to check out materials. My students had no idea that our library had current, up-to-date magazines and videos available to check out. One student said, “I thought they only had stuff for older people. ” Some of them were so excited by the number and variety of magazines and videos available, they started begging their parents to take them on a monthly basis.
I asked the students for suggestions on improving the quality of our reading time before I offered any input of my own. Once we identified the problems and, most important, discussed why they were concerns, we were ready to put our heads together to come up with solutions that would be agreeable to everyone. The topics the students most wanted to explore were as follows: the amount of time we had for SSR, the number and types of books available to them (or lack thereof), our “sharing” time, and grades.
I decided to apply the same elements of a balanced literacy approach to my reading period that I already had in my weekly schedule, by making some significant changes to our SSR time. Instead of having sustained silent reading for five consecutive days each week, we would also add writing and reading aloud to our schedule. Are They Really Reading? Expanding SSR in the Middle Grades by Jodi Crum Marshall. Copyright © 2002. Stenhouse Publishers. All rights reserved. No reproduction without written permission from the publisher.