Extensive reading (also known as Sustained Silent Reading or Free Voluntary Reading), the idea of having students read text of their own choosing without necessarily having to do book reports, etc, is an important instructional strategy that many of use. Its academic benefit has been widely documented, especially by Stephen Krashen.

I thought it would be useful to pull together some of research that backs-up its effectiveness.

Feel free to offer additional suggestions.

You might also be interested in My Best Posts On Books: Why They’re Important & How To Help Students Select, Read, Write & Discuss Them.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources Documenting The Effectiveness of Free Voluntary Reading:

81 Generalizations about Free Voluntary Reading is by Stephen Krashen.

Extensive Reading: Why? and How? is by Timothy Bell.

Extensive Reading: Why? and How? and is another study on extensive reading and ELL’s.

Promoting Extensive Reading among ELT students is an ELT Chat Summary.

What Should Teachers Be Doing During Student “Free Voluntary Reading” Time?

Study: Reading For Pleasure Makes Your Brain Grow (Literally)

Another Study Shows The Benefits Of Reading For Pleasure

Scholastic has unveiled a new website focused on the joy of reading. It includes a number of materials, including videos and a free downloadable book with contributions from educators about their own reading experiences.

In my mind, though, the most valuable part of it is a Reading Research Summary on the “Joy and Power of Reading.” I don’t think you’re going to find a better compilation anywhere.

Statistic Of The Day: New Scholastic Study On Reading

Quote Of The Day: Research Supports Independent Reading

American Educator, the quarterly magazine of the American Federation of Teachers, always has interesting and useful articles in it, and the Spring 2015 edition is no different.

The most useful one to teachers, though, is clearly the one by Daniel Willingham. For The Love Of Reading: Engaging Students in a Lifelong Pursuit is a must-read article for every educator. It’s adapted from his new book, Raising Kids Who Read: What Parents and Teachers Can Do.


Independent Reading: A Research Based Defense is from Russ on Reading, and provides a lot of “ammunition” for those of us who advocate for students reading books of their choice.

What Does Research Say Adolescent Readers Need? is from Lucy Calkins.

A Trial of Tiers: Why Silent Reading Beats Other “Tier 1” Interventions All Day Long is from The Backseat Linguist.

New Research Quantifies The Vocabulary Improvement Generated By Reading – Here’s How I Plan To Use It In Class

The Benefits of Reading for Fun is from Edutopia.

Motivate Readers Now! is from Language Magazine.


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You might also want to explore the over 600 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.