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[Susan notes: As a longtime reading teacher, I'm discouraged that so many people don't 'get' it: Kids learn to read by reading. Period. No interrogation about the reading. Just read. Once a month, my remedial readers got a coupon for a free book of their choice at the local bookstore. At the end of the year inspectors came from The State to find out how/why the reading scores on standardized test went up so much.]

Submitted to Education Week but not published

To the editor

In A Teacher Revisits the Sustained Silent Reading Debate, (Sept. 28), Liana Heiten asks how educators have solved the "silent reading conundrum" of holding students accountable for their reading without making reading less enjoyable.

There is no conundrum. There is massive, well-documented evidence that sustained silent reading (SSR) works very well for both first and second language acquirers with little or no accountability as long as certain common-sense conditions are met, e.g. a long enough duration (short-term SSR programs are not as effective as long-term programs), access to interesting reading material, a comfortable physical environment, and no anxiety over evaluation. (For evidence, please see Krashen, S. 2011. Non-engagement in sustained silent reading: How extensive is it? What can it teach us? Colorado Reading Council Journal 22: 5-10. Available at www.sdkrashen.com.)

This evidence is documented in articles in the Phi Delta Kappan (volumes 83(2), 2001, 86(6), 2005), in recent meta-analyses (Nakanishi, TEOL Quarterly, 49(1), 2014; Cho and Krashen, International Journal of Humanities & Social Science 5(7), 2015) and in several of my books (The Power of Reading, 2004; Free Voluntary Reading, 2011).

I have also published detailed responses to the National Reading Panel's incorrect conclusion that there is insufficient evidence to support sustained silent reading. Several of these responses have been published in Education Week (May 10, 2000; March 13, 2002; April 10, 2002), Reading Today (Aug/Sept. 2006) and in the Phi Delta Kappan, cited above.

As we "revisit the sustained silent reading debate," let's also revisit the research.

Stephen Krashen

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