Learning Plans & Activities
Incorporating Sustained Silent Reading into the Curriculum

In this program, students connect family and consumer sciences topics to independent reading opportunities. The same structure could be used in other disciplines, as well. Family and consumer sciences courses are developed around real and ongoing concerns of families and communities, and they include concepts for resolving these concerns through ethical action. As a part of a semester-long program, learners talk about teen mental health concerns and spend time in the library reading fiction and nonfiction about their chosen topic.


Family and Consumer Sciences

Reading promotion




Family and consumer sciences teachers


Learners will select personally engaging books around a chosen teen mental health topic

Learners will engage in periods of sustained reading of free choice books



A variety of comfortable spaces for reading


Once class period a week for a semester


AASL National School Library Standards

V.A.2. Reflecting and questioning assumptions and possible misconceptions.

V.C.1. Expressing curiosity about a topic of personal interest or curricular relevance.

Instructional Procedure

In their family and consumer sciences class, students will choose a teen mental health topic that they would like to explore further.

Develop a list of book recommendations for these topics. You can create a display of the books, make an online list, or use another strategy to share the recommendations in the library.

At the first library visit, explain expectations to the class. During the class, they will have the opportunity to choose books—fiction and nonfiction—that align with their selected mental health topic and then engage in independent reading.

Share the list and/or display of recommended books and offer individualized coaching to students to help them select books that will be engaging for them.

Each week students return to the library with their class, settle in, and begin to read silently.

Tell students that they can check-in with you to discuss what they are reading or get assistance with selecting another book.

Every three weeks, students should fill out an exit slip that asks how the reading is going and what additional support they need to be successful.

At the end of the semester, offer support to the family and consumer sciences teacher for the formal assessment that takes place in the classroom by adding questions that help students reflect on what they gained from their independent reading on the topic of their choice.


Work with students as needed to facilitate choices at appropriate reading levels or provide materials in other formats, such as audio books and eBooks.


Use periodic exit slips throughout the semester; support the classroom teacher in their formal assessment as needed.

About the Author

Liz Deskins, MA, currently serves as an instructor in the School of Information at Kent State University and has been a teacher-librarian for more than 25 years. She earned her master's degree from the Ohio State University and is coauthor of the books LGBTQAI+ Books for Children and Teens: Providing a Window for All (ALA Editions, 2018) and Linking Picture Book Biographies to National Content Standards: 200+ Lives to Explore (Libraries Unlimited, 2015). She has served in numerous leadership roles within both the Ohio Educational Library Media Association and the American Association of School Librarians.

MLA Citation Deskins, Liz. "Incorporating Sustained Silent Reading into the Curriculum." School Library Connection, December 2018, schoollibraryconnection.com/Home/Display/2189117?childId=2183409&topicCenterId=1955265&tab=1.

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Entry ID: 2183409

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