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Building Reading Stamina

Found In: motivating students; reading; sustained silent reading

I have utilized and altered “The Daily Five,” a reading program in which students have five choices for working on their reading skills. This modified strategy emphasizes sustained silent reading, and I’ve used it with my 3rd- and 5th-grade students.

I begin by leading a discussion of stamina and what it is. Then I create a chart on the board for the class as a whole and assign a number of minutes based on their grade level. I leave space to plot the number of minutes they’re able to read silently as we repeat the activity over the course of many days.

We go through a good discussion about what good readers look like, sound like, and what they do with their bodies. I model for the class and then call on students to come up to the front of the room and model good and bad (off task) reading. I always make sure that my antsy students are able to model the positive; they will find purpose in doing the right thing.

I set a timer for a number of minutes equal to their grade level (though I may adjust the time up or down based on their ability), and they begin sustained silent reading. After the timer goes off, we discuss as a group how it went and chart their success on the class poster.

The next day, we repeat the discussion, modeling and charting. It works, the kids loved it, and they encourage each other to do better each time!


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