Independent Reading: A Research Based Defense
Independent Reading, sometimes called SSR, DEAR or SQUIRT, is an instructional strategy where students are given time in class to read self-selected books. An instructional strategy which has been around since the 1970s, it has two goals:
- Provide students with time to practice the reading strategies they have learned through classroom instruction in a real reading situation and, therefore, improve reading achievement.
- Promote positive attitudes towards reading in the hopes of making reading a life-long habit for children.
Recently, literacy guru, Tim Shanahan, has reiterated his opposition to Independent Reading (SSR, DEAR) as an in the classroom instructional strategy. You can read his two most recent blogs on the topic here and here.Shanahan's opposition is based on the following:
- A lack of empirical research to support the practice for improving reading achievement.
- Independent reading violates what we know about motivational activities and, therefore, will not create lifelong readers.
It is important to note here that Shanahan's opposition to independent reading is not new. He was a prominent member of the National Reading Panel(NRP) study, the precursor of the Reading First initiative, that concluded that "even though encouraging students to read more is Russ on Reading: Independent Reading: A Research Based Defense: