Date of Award

8-2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Gambrell, Linda B

Committee Member

Switzer , Deborah M

Committee Member

Rosenblith , Suzanne N

Committee Member

Martin , Michelle H

Abstract

Despite a lack of empirical support for the effectiveness of sustained silent reading (SSR) in the literature, the practice of providing time for students to read materials of their own choosing during the school day is still offered in many classrooms today (Block & Mangieri, 2002; Nagy, Campenni, Shaw & Shaw, 2000; Pressley, Rankin & Yokoi, 1996). While many of the previous studies investigated a traditional version of SSR, where the teacher served as a model by reading silently during the period, this research also explores the effectiveness of an instructional version of SSR, known as Instructional Sustained Silent Reading, with five classrooms of third and fourth grade students. The essential elements of ISSR include teacher and student booksharing and weekly student-teacher conferences that focus on student interests and needs. A concurrent nested mixed methods research design was used to measure effects on reading achievement and reading motivation, as well as to explore the experiences of students and teachers as they were involved in both the traditional SSR and ISSR models of independent reading. The results indicate that students from both groups valued the opportunity to read for their own purposes during the school day and appreciated the choice and variety of books offered. Students involved in the ISSR model, particularly those who were low achieving or demonstrated low motivation for reading, benefited from the individualized support of the teacher during the weekly conferences and booksharing opportunities. For some of these students, a change was evidenced in their goal orientations, with a newfound perception of reading as a personally engaging activity (a mastery goal orientation) rather than as a teacher-controlled activity (performance orientation).

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