George Lucas Educational Foundation

Anyone using Sustained Silent Writing in Middle School?

Anyone using Sustained Silent Writing in Middle School?

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In our school district, they do a lot of Sustained silent reading in english classes, but I hear very little about efforts to improve writing through SSW- sustained silent writing. Like journaling, kids are given a notebook or wiki, or anything, really, and asked to write for ten or fifteen minutes continuously. What I like about this is it helps teachers diagnose where children are having problems with the writing process- is it in the ideation stage? Is it in the organization of ideas? Is in in the transcription process itself? Any one of these areas can cause problems and slow down a student's progress in writing, and there are easy work arounds for each of the common problems as well, but it seems as if we ask kids, in general, to write, but we're forgetting to teach them more about hoe to do it well or properly. (I know grammar drills don;t have much carry over effect, but most kids don't learn grammar through osmosis alone, either.) I'm interested to what you think about SSW and who has had any experience with it.

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Katie Bess's picture

Sustained silent reading time is very beneficial to students. It is not about picking a book for them and seeing where their reading levels may fall or how much they are comprehending. It is about being exposed to different types of print or texts. On average adolescents learn 3,000 new words year. Now I do not know a single teacher who can teach this many words, but it is done through exposure to new words through reading. You could combine free writes with SSR time and have students journal about what it is they are reading and go from there.

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