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In defense of sustained silent reading


Every Thursday Hiawatha High School students participate in SSR, or Sustained Silent Reading, during advisory. Some students really enjoy this time where they can take a break from the homework and stress of school and other activities, while other students would rather spend their time talking, doing homework, or staring into space.

The question of whether or not to keep SSR arose recently at HHS, but the decision is still under discussion. Personally, I believe that there are many reasons we should keep SSR. Reading for pleasure stimulates of the mind, helps in the acquisition of knowledge, expands vocabulary, sharpens writing skills, hones critical and analytical skills, improves memory and concentration, feeds your imagination, and reduces stress.  

Stimulating the mind is a very important process, and it can be done through reading. If you stimulate your mind, then the process of mental disease is slowed and can even be prevented. The brain is like any other muscle - if you exercise it then it will stay healthy and strong. Acquiring knowledge and expanding vocabulary goes right along with stimulating your mind. Everything you read benefits you by filling your head with new information. It could be as little as knowing one more word than the last time you read or as much as a whole lesson in history being gained. There is no telling how much you can gain from reading.

Your writing skills are also sharpened when you read. You get influenced by other writers as you read their writing, and therefore begin to expand your knowledge on writing. Another thing that you gain is better critical and analytical skills. This helps you to figure out who the murderer is in a book before they tell you and it also helps you to determine if a piece is well written or not. This skill helps your daily life because it will help you put thoughts together to discuss things, it will help you to solve everyday life problems such as finishing a project at work or figuring out how to navigate difficult relationships. These skills help you through all aspects in the walk of life.

“If you read for about 10 to 15 minutes before you go to work or school, it is shown that you will be much more focused than if you were to be on your phone,” says the Health Fitness Revolution in their article “Top 10 Health Benefits of Reading.” When you read, you have to remember everything that has happened, all the characters, and the setting. This exercise of your memory creates new pathways in your brain, and strengthens the already existing ones, which in turn helps strengthen your short term memory recall.

Reduction of stress and feeding of your imagination both occur when you read. Reading will keep your mind focused on the story, distracting your mind from stress for a little while, and it will allow you to relax if you enjoy the particular story you are immersed in. A movie should be playing out in your head as you read; this expands your mind to explore. In turn you open a door in your mind to think of new ideas, subjects, and situations that can get you to try new experiences.

In conclusion, reading has many positive effects on your mind that will help you in everyday life, and may even help expand how long you go without mental disease. Not everyone has the time to take out of their day to read, so if the school dedicates time for students and teachers, then the futures of these people will be greatly improved. Sustained silent reading is a great thing that shouldn’t be taken out of the school setting. In fact, it should be practiced more often.

What are YOUR thoughts on SSR? Please share your thoughts HERE!

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