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The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

Commitment to excellence: Sustained silent reading

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Grace Halupnik
Students partake in reading for 15 minutes during their SSR time in Don Frys class.

For 15 minutes a day students at PVHS are required to partake in a period called sustained silent reading (SSR) for various reasons. Some students are wanting a change to this even though it is incredibly important for us as students and should remain what it is rather than switch to a study hall.

Sustained silent reading is used by teachers to improve reading skills. Principal Darren Erickson is a firm believer in SSR, “The primary goal is that research shows reading even just 15 minutes/day improves vocabulary, reading and writing skills, thinking/processing, etc,” Erickson said.There are a lot of benefits to reading. By providing a time during the day for this to happen is our way of making it happen and removing excuses that there isn’t time for it,” Erickson added.  

Although SSR can be beneficial to students by allowing them to read, many students think they should be able to use this time as a study hall rather than reading time.

Senior Riley Gau spoke into the requirement “Having a study hall rather than SSR would benefit everyone. We should be able to have more time during school hours for homework because a lot of us have limited time due to extracurricular activities,” 

Even though some days students have more homework than others, it is still crucial to get in a little bit of reading. The brain is just like any muscle in your body, so working it out will only make it stronger. 

Although no test has specifically been done on the students in order to see if SSR is helping, there is one thing that hints towards the requirement being useful. “I will say that our Reading scores are typically very high and our student performance is as well. I am confident in saying that students that take advantage of this 15 minutes every day do benefit from the experience in multiple ways,” Erickson said.

As more time has gone on teachers have become more and more strict on SSR. This is because teachers are keeping up with the standard of committing to excellence. Students can’t fully be committed to excellence unless commitment is shown in every way possible, and SSR is another one of those ways. 

Some students have even mentioned a compromise. They mentioned that during the 15 minutes you can either read or do homework like students at PVHS were once able to read or do homework.do. 

However, a couple problems emerge with that plan. First, if a student does their homework every day during this 15 minutes rather than reading, you end up spending little to no time actually reading. 15 minutes a day, five days a week and 180 days a year leads to 13,500 hours of reading.  Additionally, “doing homework” is a common way used by people to actually not do anything at all. 

SSR should remain what it is rather than be changed to a study hall. Whether students like it or not, reading helps students become sharper and improves their intelligence.

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Jack Young
Jack Young, Photo Manager
Jack Young is a senior at Pleasant Valley High School and a member of the Spartan Shield Online. In school, Jack likes to learn about science. Outside of school, he enjoys hanging out with friends, watching movies, cooking, and playing sports. Jack has a great passion for baseball; as a captain of PV’s team in 2019, he helped lead the Spartans to Iowa’s state quarter-finals and earned both All-State and Academic All-State awards. Jack also excelled in football his senior year; even though he hadn’t set foot on the field since 2016, he led the team in tackles as a safety. After high school, Jack will continue his baseball career at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois. At Parkland, he plans to study Kinesiology in order to pursue a career as a chiropractor.
Grace Halupnik
Grace Halupnik, Lead Editor
Grace Halupnik, a senior at Pleasant Valley High School, is highly involved in the school’s journalism program. It is her first year writing for the online newspaper, where she will serve as the multimedia manager and lead editor. This is her third year with the Spartan Shield print magazine. She has been a Copy Editor, the Student Life Editor and this year she is the Co-Editor in Chief. Grace is a member of the JV girl’s tennis team and involved with PV’s National Honor Society. Outside of school, her exceptional knowledge in mathematics has led her to be a math tutor. On many days, Grace can be found working at Atomic as a barista. Her post-high school plans include majoring in physics with a concentration in biophysics and a minor in philosophy at an undecided university.  
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Commitment to excellence: Sustained silent reading