Fairfax County Public Schools
Engaging students as active
and thoughtful readers
Photo Source: https://language-and-literacy-2012.wikispaces.com/
Sustained Silent Reading (SSR)
• Developed based on The SSR
Handbook (2000) by Janice Pilgreen
• All students (and teachers) are
expected to read during this period.
• TIP: Administrators also read in a
classroom setting as well.
• As encouragement, classrooms are
randomly chosen for a “drop in” to
make sure everyone is reading.
What Students Say:
“I liked silent reading time
because it got me back
into reading. Before, I
didn’t pick up a book
unless it was required.
Now I’m not sure what to
do with myself if I’m not
“I read nine books last year.
That’s more than I have read
in my entire life!”
“Silent reading helps me relax and
escape from reality.”
“I love that it’s time set apart in
the school day for me to
continue reading my favorite
series. By the time I finish my
homework, I’m too tired to
“It’s the only time of the school day when I can
choose for myself what I want to read.”
Pilgreen’s Eight Factors for a
Successful SSR Program
3. Conducive Environment
5. Staff Training
7. Follow-Up Activities
8. Distinguished Reading Time
• Students submit up to 3
• Must have to do with our
school & reading
• 2 weeks for submissions
– Collaborating with art & tech
• Voting timeline & who votes
• The ones that don’t win
• Prizes: Gift cards to B & N
– Alternative prizes?
Book Fairs/Green Slips
• Green Slips
–1 per English teacher
–Given to “randomly selected” students
–Taken out of book fair profits/Scholastic
–How else to use?
• When to do it
• Students can bring up
to 3 gently used books
• Swap them for books
other students have
• Volunteers needed! Source: http://www.greentreelibrary.org/wp-
How does your school get
books into students’ hands
…besides the library?
Source of Background: http://freestockimgs.com/
Teachers as reading role models
- Taken by our
- Outside of every
staff member’s door
- How to do these on
What I’m Reading Now Signs
- Each staff member
fills in what they’re
- Students pay
• Book club for teachers
• Meets 5 times a year
• Recertification points
• Helps classroom libraries
• “Reading Minute” at staff
meetings to advertise
book and share reading
My activity period benefitted from my expanded
library since I got to keep the books that were
included in our Staff Reads!
- 7th grade history teacher
Because I was able to add the book to my classroom
library, I could share an excerpt with my classes either at
the beginning or end of class, and if a student was
interested in the book, I could immediately let them
borrow the copy. It showed my students that I enjoyed
reading the same books they do, and it was a way to
have a one-on-one connection with a student because
we could then talk about the book while they were
reading it and afterward.
- 8th grade English teacher
Reading these books also helped me bond with my
students by giving us something to talk about - besides
math. It is gratifying to talk with a student about a book
and hear their recommendations; to hear whether the
book made them cry or to hear how much they enjoy
certain genres or certain authors.
- 7th grade math teacher
It gave me more ways of positive communication with
- Family & consumer science teacher
• Last Friday of the month
• English classes
• Staff or parents
• Share a book of MR’s
• Kept a secret until the
How does your school’s
staff promote reading?
What could you & your
staff be doing?
Source of Background: http://freestockimgs.com/
Parent Teen Book Club
• 3 times per year: fall, winter, spring
• Students and their parents read the same book.
• Both come to our evening PTBC to discuss the
book with other parents and students.
• Teachers facilitate the group discussions.
• Students/Parents sign up via a Google form.
• 5-6 different titles per session to offer choice
• Range of fiction, non-fiction, and graphic
• Coincides with our book fairs – extra
• Staff is encouraged to find a student buddy
with whom to participate.
“…I think the parent-teen aspect of this club is
what makes it special. Observing her interactions
with her peers and having her observe ours in
such a setting is really interesting. The most
rewarding part, though, is having something in
common with our teen. Reading a book together
provided something to discuss and ponder and
critique and laugh and complain and make
“…though War Horse is probably not a book I'd
have actually chosen to read, doing so gave my
son and I an opportunity to connect as well on a
different level. Throughout this process and our
discussions about the book and characters, I've
seen my somewhat shy 7th grader evolve into
an expressive and articulate human being with
mature opinions and insights that he enjoys
sharing. I fully credit the Book Club experience
for encouraging that dialogue. What a
How does your school involve parents with reading?
Working with the Public Library
• Youth/Teen Services Librarians
• What do they do?
– Book talk over 20 titles
– Discuss volunteer opportunities
– Promote programs & services available at the
• Before winter break & at the end of the year.