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Sustained Silent Reading Activities

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Sustained silent reading is common in classrooms all over the world. But, how can sustained silent reading be used to increase engagement overall? These activities are designed to do just that for your students.

Buddy Book Swap

The goal of this activity is to get students to step outside of their typical reading selections. Have each student in the class list his or her favorite book on a slip of paper. Now place the slips in a bowl or other container. Have students draw a slip. The book they choose will be their reading material for sustained silent reading.

Calendar Based Reading

Month to month, we celebrate different holidays and seasons. This sustained reading activity creates a list of book choices for each month built around the events for that month. For example, January might feature books about winter, August might consist of books about travel and tropical locations, and October might include autumnal and Halloween themed books.

Hobby Books

There are countless hobbies practiced by your students. Some may play sports, others might build models, and others may collect coins. Whatever their hobby, this sustained silent reading activity gives students a chance to read a book about their unique hobby. If they do not yet have a hobby, or are open to a new one, this will certainly help them choose one.

Travel Books

Many books feature faraway lands, but have your students really spent enough time learning about these places. Travel guides and books are wonderful resources for learning about the peoples and cultures of the world and remote destinations. For this sustained silent reading activity, students must select a travel book or guide.

Learn a New Skill Reading

How-to books run the gamut from simple tasks to refined skills. Sustained silent reading is a wonderful time to learn a new skill. By creating a library of how-to books for your students, you can help them learn a new skill.

Our Parents' Favorites

Have your students ever asked their parents or even their grandparents about the books they liked to read when they were youngsters? This sustained silent reading activity allows them to do just that. Begin by having students poll their family members about their favorite childhood books. Now build a library of those books for your class. Let students pick and choose from the favorites of their family members at reading time.

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