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Sustained Silent Reading Research at the ESOL Lab School

The ESOL Lab School is set up to have two classes at the same level operating at the same time. When the Lab School decided to conduct research on Sustained Silent Reading (SSR), students entering the program at the lowest level of instruction were randomly assigned to one of the two classes. Both classes offered an integrated ESL program, but in one class, the reading instruction followed the regular skills-based approach and in the other, it was a modified version of sustained silent reading in which students recorded their reactions to what they read and discussed some aspect of it with another student. Each teacher taught one term in each class. See media clips of SSR in the Lab School.

When the researchers compared the students in the two classes, they found that there was no difference in students’ achievement on standardized tests, attendance hours, retention, and progress through the program between the students who had skill-based reading instruction and those who had SSR as their reading instruction. Teachers reported that even beginning-level students enjoyed the silent reading activities.