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.

Jack Young, Photo Manager

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.