The Graduate Review


Recent trends in adolescents’ reading habits suggest that as students enter middle and high school, their interest as well as their engagement in pleasure reading decreases. Educators and administrators alike are concerned by the statistics, which suggest that readers are lost early in their formal education. Many studies correlate low levels of reading to lower performance on academic tasks as well as decreased economic success in adulthood. Conversely, studies correlate higher levels of reading, especially daily reading, to substantial academic gains as well as increased economic success. Many educators have attacked the problem of losing readers during their adolescent years through the implementation of diverse reading programs, which primarily center on the concept of “free voluntary reading” despite differences in the programs’ execution. In this paper, I argue that schools benefit more from honest, reflexive reading programming than subscribing to the latest idea in interventional reading instruction, namely the Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) program. By cataloguing the reading habits of the Digital Age adolescent, identifying the strengths as well as the challenges of implementing SSR, and analyzing the implementation of SSR in multiple schools, including its theoretical implementation in my school of employment, I am able to conclude that while SSR is a successful program in its own right, what schools truly need is a custom-designed, built-from-the-inside reading program based on teachers’ intuition, rapport with students, and ability to recommend texts.

Note on the Author

Anne Smith is enrolled in the MA in English program at Bridgewater State University. She currently teaches freshmen and junior English at St. John Paul II High School. Her research project was completed in fall 2016 under the guidance of Dr. Kimberly Chabot Davis.

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