Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sustained Silent Reading: Exploring the Value of Literature Discussions with Three Non-Engaged Readers

Bryan, G., Fawson, P. C., Reutzel, D. R. (2003). Sustained silent reading: Exploring the value of literature discussion with three non-engaged readers. Reading Research and Instruction, 43(1), 47-73.

The authors of this study understand that many teachers across the country incorporate some form of independent reading in their classroom but worry that just providing time to read does not engage all readers.  During the course of the study, researchers observed three fourth grade students who were previously determined to be non-engaged in reading during silent sustained reading time.  After 5-15 days of silent observation (depending of the student), the researchers engaged in literature discussions with each student separately about the books they had chosen to read. "Off-task behaviors" continued to be recorded during the literature discussion for five days and for 5-15 days after to see if students were more engaged in reading and to what degree.
The number of off-task behaviors did go down during the literature discussion period for all three students; more drastically for two of them.  After the literature discussions were stopped, students still had less off-task behaviors than the baseline period but more than the literature discussion period.
Although this study is limited by only using three fourth grade students, I still found it applicable to issues I am having in my 8th grade classroom.  I notice that in my quest to help students develop a love of reading, my current Reading Workshop format is missing accountability.  Even a short discussion or exit card may help those unengaged readers have a purpose to read.  The article also discusses the value of making reading a social activity.  I wonder if the non-engaged readers will even want to talk to their friends about a book?  Will they feel intimidated or will this help them engage?  Although the study does not include students discussing books with each other, the authors do cite many other studies that show how book clubs or literature circles could engage the non-engaged reader.

Relevant quotes:
"They (non-engaged readers) are readers who are passive, inactive, and seldom see reading as pleasurable.  They are often unwilling to take risks and rarely venture beyond their limited reading comfort zone.  They avoid reading." (53).

"One prominent feature of SSR as described in the literature and as implemented in many classrooms across the nation is the conspicuous absence of interaction around or accountability for what students read." (48).

"...students who participate in conversations about what they read are more active readers." (51).

Text sources:
Gunning, T.G. (2000). Creating literacy instruction for all children (3rd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

National Reading Panel (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. Bethseda, MD: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Turner, J., & Paris, S. G. (1995). How literacy tasks influence children's motivation for literacy. The Reading Teacher, 48, 662-673.

1 comment:

Stacey Caillier said...

Hey Mindy~

I love the details you have in here about the study - and I love that it was an in-depth focus on four students over time. This is an interesting potential model for your own research, where you may decide to have a few focus students who you want to understand more deeply.

I'm curious as well to hear more about the studies the explore reading as a social activity and the different ways of facilitating that - and of course, how students experience those!

Great job on this annotation! It sounds like the article had some interesting ideas for facilitating reading in your classroom and for approaching your own research!

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