During the week of Nov. 15, students spent 22 minutes at the end of fifth period reading silently. Although current students have not experienced it, SSR—sustained silent reading—is not new to UAHS.
“We used to have SSR many years ago at the old high school,” language arts teacher Matt Toohey said.
“Students, teachers, custodians, coaches, administrators, everyone just would sit and read.”
SSR at the old high school disappeared after a consecutive series of new principals. However, the administration was recently able to bring it back.
“Schedules got changed, and different principals came in with different ideas, and it just disappeared,” Toohey said.
“When Mr. Theado was brought in as our principal, I asked him if we could bring back SSR, and [he] has finally said, ‘Yes, we’re doing it.’”
SSR will return for another week in the fourth quarter. Research has shown there are benefits to reading regularly.
“Study after study has shown that the most successful readers—I don’t mean financially successful, I mean the most even keeled, happiest people, people who enjoy life—always find time to read,” Toohey said.
Some students agree that reading is beneficial.
“I noticed a personal improvement in my mental and physical health just since I started reading last summer.” senior Marin Sneed said.
However, it can be difficult for students to find time to read in their free time.
“Once school started again I noticed that I didn’t have as much time to just sit down and read, and so that’s why I’m really excited about SSR,” Sneed said. “I found that a lot of people like to read; a lot of people just don’t have time to read or an excuse to read.”
Toohey hopes that SSR will encourage students to read more.
“If we can get just a handful of students to fall in love with a book, then SSR worked.” Toohey said.
While there aren’t many restrictions on what students can read during SSR, they are encouraged to read for fun rather than for class.
“This time should be for stuff that’s like not an academic reading necessarily. You don’t want to sit in SSR and read your government textbook because that’s no fun.” Sneed said.
Additionally, Toohey advised students against studying for other classes or getting off task during SSR. However, junior Katniss Weisberg said that was exactly what took place.
“In my study hall, nobody was actually reading, and people just still kept talking,” she said.
Students are unable to read on any electronic devices.
“What we’re hoping for is students have a hard copy of something to read.” Toohey said. “We’re hoping for no screen time.”
Students who wish to read more often outside of SSR can join Book Club. Sneed is president of Book Club, which usually meets on the last Thursday of the month in the LC3.