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Photo by Karylle Hillard

By Jared Eckley

Silent Sustained Reading has changed a lot from the previous years, but what was the reasoning behind it?

Sveri May, teacher at Loy Norrix, played a major part in the new SSR program changes. May is a passionate reader and wants the students at Loy Norrix to become better readers and experience the joy of reading more books.

The new SSR program brings in something the school has not done before it, it provides books that students choose and actually want to read.

You may remember being surveyed late last year about what books you wanted to read. This was a survey issued to see what different books students wanted to see in the classrooms. Each classroom is now equipped with a bookshelf and plenty of books that students are interested in reading, which was paid for by Loy Norrix and a GEAR UP grant. If you find a book you like during SSR time, you can even check it out to read at home. May, Librarian Jack Sewell, and teacher Karla DeMott spent hours looking for and ordering books that the students wanted. Sewell must constantly update magazine articles and news articles as well.

“If we want kids to become better readers,” said May, “we have to let them read what they love to read.”

Loy Norrix originally established SSR in 1991, but it dwindled down since then to nearly nothing. This is when May decided to research reestablishing SSR.

People only get better at things if they do it, and do it often. So instead of reading once a week on Fridays for a half an hour, May wanted students to have a chance to read multiple times a week, and for a shorter time period. The new SSR program provides 15 minutes of reading time on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

One of the goals of the updated SSR program is improving reading skills. Overall, the reading scores on testing at Loy Norrix are poor, only 56.7 percent of students passed the reading portion of the MME test. That being said, if students read more, they can become better at it and improve test scores and the schools educational image.

If you have not seen, there is a bulletin board up on the wall in the main hall. This shows pictures of students and staff, their favorite books, and what they like about them. If you are interested in being on this wall, contact Sveri May with a picture of you with your book and a reason why you like it, and she will post it on the board for you.