Sunday, August 25, 2013

Tweaking SSR this Year

I'm very happy that, even though our school day schedule was changed dramatically this year, our principal kept an SSR time built into the day. You would think that having the administrator stamp of approval on SSR would protect this time, but alas I must defend it each year. There are some teachers that think it is a waste of time and try to make up tests, make students complete missed homework or just continue class time during these precious moments.
In a faculty meeting before school started we were all given a moment to talk about how our subject area changed this year and how we were addressing the new standards. I took that opportunity to share a few facts about why SSR is important. I also sent out an email with a list of ways SSR benefits students. You can see some of the things I shared here.
After the success of the all boy book club, the principal and one of our ELA teacher leaders wanted to implement something similar for each grade in the classrooms. The boys that came to me showed large gains in benchmark testing for reading after coming to me all year and reading together. This year the teachers are surveying the students and organizing a male and female group that will go to a classroom for a read aloud each day during SSR. Our hopes is that this time will target those that we suspect might just be staring at the page instead of reading. I know read alouds work so I'm looking forward to seeing how this program benefits our students.
To kick start the program the teachers will be using books that I already have on Playaway so that they can connect it to the SmartBoard speakers. From my collection we selected three or four choices for each grade. I put together a playlist of the book or movie trailers to the books so that students could vote on the book they wanted to hear first.

Does your school have SSR? Are you involved with SSR implementation?

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