Forgive the boasting, but the survey results for our a silent sustained reading program for 7th and 8th grade students in our school district are in..,and the teachers are feeling very proud.
573 students answered a 12 question survey about their experience this year for SSR, but let’s start with the most important response:
71.4% responded that SSR “made me a better reader this year.”
A better reader! That admission from students ages 11-14 is an achievement that can leave the faculty smiling proudly over the summer. And speaking about summer, the same students answered positively that they believe that they would read over the summer: 69% responded that they plan to read (28% definitely; 41% sometimes).
Our SSR program was embraced by several teachers and up and running well by November. The classroom libraries were stocked with a combination of traditional and high interest materials. That meant 20 minutes a day of the block schedule (92 minutes) was dedicated to reading independently. By January even more classrooms were on board, and by April, all classrooms were practicing reading for pleasure, teachers included.
Those teachers who hesitated at first were slowly converted, and more than one commented, “I think I am a better reader as well!”
These same 573 students took many standardized tests this year generating scores that determine each student’s reading ability against a standard. But those test scores do not measure a student’s self-assessment of their reading.
Our June 2015 survey does.
Our June survey asked 12 questions about reading, and every response showed growth in attitudes that we recorded from our September 2014 survey. That beginning of the year survey was used as a benchmark to measure student attitudes towards reading.
Compare the responses from September to June when asked student if they thought reading was “fun”:
|7th & 8th grade students||Usually||Sometimes||Rarely|
In one school year, 10% of the student population changed their attitudes towards reading…all in a positive direction.
The survey also recorded what students look for in selecting their own reading materials:
|length of the book||26.9%|
|cover of the book||46.2%|
|the book is part of a series I like||61.8%|
|a friend recommended the book||48.2%|
|a teacher recommended the book||31.1%|
|a parent or another adult recommended the book||22.2%|
|a movie is connected to this book||24.4%|
The survey also asked how many books students were reading a month:
|at least 1||32.1%|
|4 or more books||12%|
Do the math. 184 students (32%) read at least one book a month. That means students who read one book a month for eight months (8) of the school year collectively read 1472 books…and that just the total of books read by 1/3 of the class.
Combine our findings with those of the Scholastic Publishing company in their survey 2014 “Kids and Family Reading Report”
Scholastic is one of the publishers that has a presence in schools through book fair sales, and they released three key findings about reading in school:
#1: One third of children ages 6–17 (33%) say their class has a designated time during the school day to read a book of choice independently, but only 17% do this every or almost every school day.
#2: Half of children ages 6–17 who read independently as a class or school (52%) say it’s one of their favorite parts of the day or wish it would happen more often.
#3: Sixty-one percent of children ages 6–17 who live in the lowest-income households say they read books for fun mostly in school, or the same amount in school and at home, while only 32% of children ages 6–17 who live the highest-income homes say the same.
The most interesting statistics for our teachers in our survey was that students believe their parents are connected to their independent reading. Along with the information that 22% of students look for suggestions from parents in selecting reading materials, they also indicated how critical the role of parents and family is (over 50%) when they share what they read by checking all that applied:
I share what I read with:
|Family (parents, relatives)||53.1%|