Effects of additions to independent silent reading on students’ reading proficiency, motivation, and behavior: Results of a meta-analysis

Stephan Merke, Lesya Ganushchak, Roel van Steensel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

One often used approach to increase students' reading frequency is investing in independent silent reading (ISR) at schools: regularly scheduling time during which students read silently in books of their own choice. However, evidence for the impact of ISR is inconclusive and there appear to be important barriers to its effects on students' reading frequency, motivation, and proficiency: particularly struggling readers have difficulties choosing appropriate books, simply allotting time for reading does not guarantee that students read, ISR lacks accountability, and students are not always given the opportunity to interact about what they read. The aim of the current meta-analysis was to test whether additions to ISR that aim to overcome these barriers contribute to the effects of ISR on students' reading. Using outcomes of 51 effect studies covering 56 samples of students in primary and secondary education, we established a small but significant positive short-term intervention effect on overall reading proficiency (Cohen's d = 0.27). We additionally found that additions to ISR were particularly effective for students at risk of reading failure; for stronger readers, effects were absent. Finally, we found a negative effect of help or instruction by the teacher, which suggests that activities during reading might interfere with students' engagement with texts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100572
Number of pages23
JournalEducational Research Review
Volume42
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

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© 2023 The Authors

Research programs

  • ESSB PSY

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