Create a structured environment with clear behavioral expectations and goals for students

  • Goals could be individual – or they could spread across the entire SSR class
  • Behavioral expectations- some could also be individualized (for example, some students may need a break from straight reading, having them write a sentence or stand up to stretch is a way to accommodate for this)
  • Kids need to have engaging books and/or reading material – if students are not engaged in what they’re reading, SSR will not be a successful period (often times students choose the wrong book)
  • Let Mrs.Cullen or Mrs. Mitchell know they are coming to get a book, if available, they can help direct students to preview several books in the library

Advertising Books

  • Book talks by the SSR teacher (these could be very short)
  • Book talks by students in the classroom (students could be assigned a day they would be in charge of presenting a book talk to the class – they don’t necessarily have to be finished with the book, they could be in the middle of it and give a quick update)
  • Book talks from Melissa Orth
  • Book pass- using books in the classroom library, have students sit in a circle – give them a set amount of time to look at the book, read the back, read the first page, then when time is up they pass it along to the next person (students can keep a running record during this time of books- write the title and the author and then a comment of whether or not it was something they found to be interesting)
  • Display books, create a book bulletin board for students to post recommendations – make it a community of reading


  • Conference with students about the book they are reading – this can be a quick five or ten minutes with the student
  • Conferences could include a discussion about their next book or what they are currently enjoying reading
  • This can also be a time to discuss behavior issues, such as off-task or fake reading
  • For struggling students, a suggestion of taking a quick break from reading to write a sentence or two, or take a quick stretch can be helpful

Book Summaries

  • When students have finished reading a book they are required to write a book summary
  • Alternatively, or in addition, they could also create a project that highlights the book they have read
  • When they have finished a book summary have a conference with them

Page Number Tracking

  • One way to structure SSR class and hold students accountable is to keep track of the books students are reading and his/her page number
  • At the beginning of the period go around the room and have students tell you the title of the book and give you the page they are currently on