I know that most of our program teachers (including myself) would have great difficulty implementing SSR in their classroom because they all have so much material that they want to cover. Most believe that any additional reading (especially if it’s not related to the class itself) should be done as homework or outside of the classroom and that class time should be dedicated to discussions, pair work, teaching content, and practicing the content that was taught. We do encourage students to read outside of the classroom because it builds their vocabulary but we don’t necessarily give them time to read during class time except for what is scheduled for the lesson that day.
After reading the chapter and the way that they teacher set up the SSR p.170, I think that I would like to try this in the classroom. It didn’t take up that much time in the beginning and seemed to improve students reading abilities and they started to enjoy reading more. I think that if it is set up and the purpose of the SSR is made clear to the students that it would be beneficial. Teachers and students need to realize that it is not just for “killing time” but actually serves a purpose. I like the follow up idea on p.175 about a “book party.” This gives students time to actually discuss what they are reading with a small group and other students can gain additional reading ideas or selections that might interest them. I know that a lot of our ESL students do not read in English outside of the classroom so this could be beneficial to get them to start building their reading confidence in English.
I'm curious as to what other teachers think about SSR during class time. Your thoughts?
"Teachers and students need to realize that it is not just for “killing time” but actually serves a purpose." I agree with you 100%. Teachers have a lot of content to cover in a short amount of time, and they work hard to coordinate quality and quantity. Having the learners sitting around, reading a random text of choice could be viewed as counterproductive. However, I think if teachers tried it for at least a month, they might be able to see for themselves, either by querying the students or by evaluating their work, that SSR impacts the students in a positive way.
Hi Aimee, Gerry and all, You both --and our text-- make a lot of excellent points about the potential for SSR. I have always thought that making time for SSR that also includes some structured activities for students to discuss what they are reading is valuable. The problem, as Aimee notes, is that in adult literacy classrooms, we have students for such a short period of time. So, we would have to make SSR a priority, talk to the students about the value (as Gerry points out) and provide some structure to ensure success.
It would be great to hear how SSR works for adult education teachers. I hope you'll try it out!
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Years ago, I implemented SSR into my classroom. At that time it seemed as if students were staying longer - jobs were tough to find, so school was the option for many. I eventually stopped because life changed. Students felt that they did not want to "take their time" during class for this activity; the feedback indicated that they wanted more direct instruction, so I moved on. There is such a sense of urgency with our students; they feel they must complete their goal asap and quickly move on to the next step in their lives. Of course, this doesn't mean that I won't revisit this, but right now I feel that there are so many ideas covered in RA that I might try others first.
Hi Norene, I tend to agree with you on this. While there is absolutely no substitute for extensive reading, and I understand the wide benefits of building SSR into class time, the urgency you speak of is real. Students stay in adult literacy classrooms for such a very short period of time. I think there is some wisdom in creating structures for the reading to happen at home. That's what I'm trying this semester. So far, some are doing it, and some are not. Those who find the time to do it, accrue the benefits.
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