Sustained Silent Reading: The effects are substantial, it works, and it leads to more reading. A response to Shanahan (2016).
Shanahan (2016) makes three unsubstantiated claims about sustained silent reading (SSR).
A "tiny" effect?
Shanahan states that "the effects of DEAR, SSR, SQUIRT or any of the other 'independent reading time' schemes are tiny when it comes to reading achievement."
Shanahan does not cite any sources for this claim. Several meta-analyses of studies done with second language acquirers, however, show that effect sizes for SSR are quite respectable and the results for readers of different ages are similar. Table 1 summarizes these studies.
Cho and Hey J. Kim, (2004)
Elley & Mangubhai (1983)
N = number of studies
Calculations for Cho and Kim (2004), Elley and Mangubhai (1983) and Elley (1991) are included in Cho and Krashen (2015).
In Tse, Xiao, Ko, Lam, Hui, and Ng (2016), fourth grade children in Taiwan and Hong Kong who reported doing more independent reading in their first language in school scored higher on the PIRLS 2006 reading test, controlling for students' reading attitude, parents' reading attitude, home education resources, the amount of outside schol informational reading done, and the amount of in-class reading aloud done by students.
Students indicated how much SSR they were doing on a four point scale where 1 = none at all and 4 = every day or nearly every day. The results predict that a school moving from doing no SSR to an every day or nearly every day program will experience a PIRLS gain of 20 points for Hong Kong schools and 45 ponts for Taiwan schools, which is substantial.
The "failure" of SSR?
Shanahan also states "As it became obvious and research accumulated showing the lack of learning from unaccountable reading (e.g., DEAR, SSR) ...".
The evidence cited above confirms that SSR works, as do many other SKrashen: Sustained Silent Reading: The effects are substantial, it works, and it leads to more reading. A response to Shanahan (2016).: