Building Readers for Life: A Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) Program

Each year AISNSW calls for applications for schools to undertake research over a two-year period, with support from AISNSW, academic mentors and critical friends. After completing a rigorous selection process in 2019, Queenwood was awarded a School Based Research Project for their project Building Readers for Life: A Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) Program.

Project Overview

This research seeks to understand the impact of engagement in daily timetabled SSR on student literacy, and on the attitudes and motivations of students that support their engagement in reading for enjoyment.

Using a research-informed, innovative model of best practice in SSR implementation, Queenwood aims to enhance understanding about the effective delivery of SSR to support student learning and engagement in schools.

A mixed methods approach has been adopted for this research, which involves the collection and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data.

The research team

The project is led at the school level by Gabrielle Mace (Head of Library & Information Services) and supported by Queenwood’s QLiteracy team. Dr Margaret Merga (Edith Cowan University) provides expertise as their academic mentor.

Progress to date

While some disruptions were experienced due to COVID-19, significant progress was made throughout 2020. This included:

  • gaining ethics approval from Edith Cowan University
  • designing and developing of the project’s survey instrument
  • completing baseline testing (academic and attitudinal) for students in Years 3-10
  • sharing project information with staff and the school community
  • undertaking staff professional learning to assist in project implementation across the whole school
  • establishing a Student Advisory Committees in both Junior and Senior schools
  • establishing corridor libraries to assist participation for all students in the early phases of the research.  These were later removed to reduce reliance and encourage reading outside allocated times
  • adjusting timetables to enable time for the ‘Just Read’ initiative
  • establishing  ‘Book Talks’ to encourage discussion around books being read.

COVID-19 resulted in data collection being reduced in 2020 from three phases (pre, mid and post) to two phases (pre and post program data). The program continued through periods of remote learning, with ‘Just Read’ scheduled explicitly into daily timetables.

Where to next?

The second year of the project will see the team complete collection of student data, conduct a teacher attitudinal survey, and undertake data analysis. Restrictions allowing, the team will meet with their mentor, Dr Merga in mid-2021 to focus on final data analysis and publication planning.

The team has designed a number of activities to assist in sharing the knowledge gained through their research. This includes publications for the school community and broader education sector, academic and industry conference presentations, and the delivery of professional development workshops.

About Queenwood

A rigorous academic curriculum within a balanced program of activities has been the key characteristic of a Queenwood education for over 90 years. The school prides itself on creating space for students to engage with big ideas and connect with a diverse range of people and communities. This is all within a strong learning community. Queenwood believes the result is a contemporary liberal education designed to form young women equipped and motivated to make a difference.

Contact details

Project Lead: Gabrielle Mace

School website:

Contact number: (02) 8968 7777


Twitter: @QueenwoodSchool