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Silent reading at start of lessons

Discussion in 'English' started by flossyann, Jun 18, 2007.

  1. Does anyone's English department follow the policy of having the first 15-20 mins of each lesson as silent reading?

    My HoD is thinking about giving it a trial run and I was just wondering what other people have found.

    From what I have seen, it works well but he is worries that some pupils may just sit there for the period and not read.

    Thank you
  2. Does anyone's English department follow the policy of having the first 15-20 mins of each lesson as silent reading?

    My HoD is thinking about giving it a trial run and I was just wondering what other people have found.

    From what I have seen, it works well but he is worries that some pupils may just sit there for the period and not read.

    Thank you
  3. diamond_raindrops

    diamond_raindrops New commenter

    Our faculty doesn't have this policy, however, I always have silent reading for 5-10mins after break and dinner to settle them before the beginning of a lesson. One way to ensure that pupils do read is to have pupils reading the same book as they tend to compete with each other. I have also found their reactions to the book amusing as they tend to discuss it like a TV show. Another good thing about using the same book is that those who sit there and read nothing can have boring comprehension questions to answer after reading each chapter to ensure that they get it done; after the first few chapters, they soon get into a routine.
    Of course, the only let down is that pupils have different tastes so maybe you could have three novels to choose from (depending on the resources in your department).
    If you don't like that idea, you could let pupils track their progress with a book where they write their own reviews, then you can instantly see what they have been reading.
  4. yeah, thanks for posting - I was thinking of having a stack of different books such as some normal fiction but then also factual books and comics. I like the idea of them tracking what they have read though.
  5. y9840125

    y9840125 Occasional commenter

    Yes we do maximum of ten mins as a settler. It is great as a settler. I am going to try and move away from this though to have independent study instead for the first 10 mins as i think this would be more beneifical.
  6. I love the idea as a way of getting everyone focussed while the stragglers arrive. am trying to persuade my HoD that this is a good idea. (It worked in my previous school, but that was in the olden days when a starter meant prawn cocktail and modelling was not done by fat teachers.)
  7. anteater

    anteater New commenter

    On the down side, children who really like reading can find it incredibly frustrating! My daughter's English teacher required the class to read silently for the first few minutes of each lesson last year. She hated it; she felt she was just beginning to get involved with the story when she was told to stop reading and focus on something else entirely. She did what I used to do at her age when this happened to me at school - continued reading furtively during the lesson.
  8. If you do initiate this policy, I would strongly endorse your idea of bringing in magazines and comic books.

    teach in the States now. At my last school, we had a fifteen-minute Sustained silent reading (SSR) period every day. During this time, every student had to do silent reading, sitting in whichever classroom he would be in for thurd period, regardless of the subject. Teachers were supposed to model silent reading, too, though not everyone did.

    For those who liked reading it was a joy. The brought their books and, as an earlier poster indicated, were often reluctant to stop in order to listen to the notices and start French or whatever once the bell rang.

    However, I did find that the less enthusiastic readers found it fifteen very slow minutes to be endured, rather than enjoyed. The only time almost everyone read with total concentration was just before the assigned novel for English had to be finished. :)

    At first, I brought in magazines such as Sports Illustrated and computer magazines. These were very popular, especially with the boys, but then I was told that books were the only reading mateirla permitted. Later, several of us lobbied for magazines or any other reading material the child chose and the policy was changed.

    Comic books were always popular. Since I am a French teacher, I had a number of Asterix comic books in English and they were a big hit. Students would rush into class to be the first top get them. On a number of occasions students hid books in the classroom, to make sure they could get to them first at the beginning of SSR!

    Lots of reluctant readers never brought a book of their own. Each day they would take a different book from my little library and sit in front of it, pretending to read. Since SSR was an extra (for which I, as a part-time teacher found that I did not actually get paid) there was really no way of ensuring accountability. For you, as an English teacher, this will presumably be easier. I like the idea of having only those who appear not to be reading do the comprehension questions. I'm sure that it would ruin the enjoyment of those who enjoy reading.(I always loathed comprehensions!) However, I think a reading log would be great. I am sure the keen readers would derive satisfaction from seeing what they ahd read over the course of the year.
  9. I have just thought of soemthign else. Maybe English teachers have heard of D.E.A.R., but if not....It stands for Drop Everything and Read. With this, everyone in the school - students, teachers, administrators, secretaries have to stop whatever they are doing and read at a given signal. I fear that it would be counterproductive, but you might find soem ideas for materials etc. by doing internet research on it.

  10. When I was on my first teaching practice, one the class teachers had the pupils practising their handwriting. This helped when I took over as it was quite a difficult class and it got them settled and silent.
  11. I can only see this causing disruption if I am truthful.

    As an avid reader myself I would not like to be "dragged" out of my book to start the lesson, and children who do not like reading would lack motivation.

    Far better to have a class reader and read for 10 mins at the end of lessons as a reward to calm everyone down.
  12. I really like the idea of reading silently, at the beginning of lessons. Not only does it give you the opportunity to settle, but also to prepare. However, as a teacher I feel compelled to take an interest in what they're reading and inform their book choices. If you don't, then I feel this is a pointless exercise. Children must be reading books that challenge and engage them. If left to their own devices I find they just end up reading the same books/genre all the time. A monitoring process is pivotal to this process, even if it's a grid draw in the back of their English books.
  13. Ours read silently every lesson, but I don't just see it as a settler; it is vital that they do some reading to improve their spelling and punctuation and I make it clear to them that it is important that they actually do read during this time.

    It also (as a by product) gives me time to check their homework is done and any other jobs like giving things out etc.
  14. For all our classes at KS3 we have 10 minutes silent reading for at least 3 lessons a week. The kids have reading records which they have to complete and in general it fosters a very good atmosphere. It's a great way to start the lesson for the students and I'm convinced that it improves their literacy in a sustained way. When things are hugely stressful for me as a teacher I occasionally do entire reading lessons, say once or twice a term, so it can be a way to make life easier for us too.
  15. I think it's a great idea and let's face it, it is probably the only reading some of these kids do. I think it's a good idea to get some feedback though to make sure they are reading - I dunno, perhaps random questions at the end of the reading session as an incentive to read.
  16. We use ERIC(Everyone reading in class ) with S1-S3 for 10 mins at the start of each period. I have boxes of books with a wide range of genre. I have a range of reluctant readers, Guinness Book of Records, atlas, football, car, fishing magazines etc. Pupils have a reading record which they complete at home with awards :bronze, silver and gold for books and tasks completed. Each pupil has a bookmark to keep track of page and different books read. It provides a peaceful start to lesson and allows you time to catch up with absent pupils, admin, liaison with SLA etc. Most kids enjoy it and I would recommend it.
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    At my previous school Year 7 and 8 were involved in the Renaissance
    Accelerated Reading Scheme. Pupils read for 15-20 minutes at the
    beginning of the lesson. The scheme uses computerised tests to guide
    pupils to reading books related to their reading age.

    During guided reading they selected a book at that level, indicated by a
    colour. When they finished their book they then went and completed a
    comprehension test. It worked really well with the majority of pupils, although
    there were some that struggled with the silence. Some of the lower
    ability pupils made improvements of over two years. They earn points for
    passing a test, which encouraged some of the more competitive pupils.
  18. We start our KS3 lessons with 10 minutes private reading and it works really well. Pupils bring their own books in (though I do have a small class library) and keep a reading record which I look at occasionally and comment on. I like fishtail's idea of using poems and articles but would not have the time to produce enough resources for classes of 34. How do you do it?
  19. fishtail

    fishtail New commenter

    I don't have a real life [​IMG]

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