chapter  5
9 Pages

Reading silently

ByGeoff Fenwick

This chapter intends to justify the use of silent reading in schools, to consider its organisation and to assess its standing at present, particularly in view of government initiatives on literacy teaching and subsequent revisions of the National Curriculum. In classrooms where pupils are developing their literacy, the use of silent reading should be taken for granted. As they grow older, silent reading becomes more frequent and, in most cases, more popular than reading aloud. What, then, is the problem? It rests with what might be termed ‘the first S’, namely the ‘sustained’ in sustained silent reading (SSR). Attitudes towards reading silently for considerable periods of time have fluctuated over many years. This is something which we need to consider particularly in view of its decline as a classroom activity since the late 1990s.