Only Let Your Brain Hear You!

Stacy Jones

Growing Independence and Fluency

Rationale:  Learning to read silently is an important step to learning to be a fluent reader.  This skill is not always automatically acquired and implemented by children.  It is an important strategy that children must learn.  Children must be able to extract meaning from the text that they read in a seemingly effortless manner.  Learning to do this helps children obtain the desire to read on their own.  Silent reading is a necessary component in this process.  This lesson helps children grasp how to read silently and provides practice in this area.

Materials:  Kids and Pets at Camp from the Reading Genie website, chalk, chalkboard and paper, checklist with lips moving/reading in a normal voice, lips moving/whispering, lips moving/no sound, lips not moving/no sound to assess students.

Procedure:  1. Explain to the students what silent reading is and why it is important.  "Have you ever been to the library and seen the ‘Please Be Quiet’ sign?  Do you ever wonder how all the people are reading without making a sound?  This is called silent reading.  Silent reading is when you read a book to yourself without making a sound and eventually without even moving your lips!  Today we are going to practice reading silently.  Silent reading is so important that we all need to learn how to do it in order to become better readers."

2.  Explain cross checking with the students and why it is so important when you are silently reading.  Cross checking is when you read a sentence and it doesn’t make sense so you go back and reread the sentence to see what word you might have misread.  "Sometimes when you are reading out loud, you may misread a word and someone might hear you and correct you.  Well, when you are silently reading, there is no one to correct you so you have to cross check for yourself.” Model crosschecking for the students.  Write the sentence I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the chalkboard.  "I am going to read this sentence aloud.  I love peanut butter and juice sandwiches.  Now, that sentence didn’t make sense to me.  Did it make sense to you?  I am going to go back and reread the sentence to see if I misread a word.  I love peanut butter and juice, no jelly sandwiches.  I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  That makes a lot more sense to me.  Does it to you?  Crosschecking is very important because if what we read does not make sense to us, we will not understand the book that we are reading.  It is important to remember to cross check if you come across a sentence that doesn’t make too much sense."

3.  Distribute Kids and Pets at Camp to students to read for silent reading.  "Today you are going to get to read Kids and Pets at Camp to practice silent reading.  I want everyone to read the first page to themselves.  Remember to crosscheck if some of the words don’t sound right to you.  When you are comfortable with the first page, raise your hand and let me hear you read it out loud to me before you continue with the rest of the book.”  Use this opportunity to make sure the text is appropriate for all of the students.

4.  Explain to the students how to silently read and model it for them.  "Silent reading is not hard to learn how to do and can be learned easily with a little practice.  To learn how to silent read, start off by whispering quietly to yourself as your read.  Watch me as I read this page in this book."  Read a page in a book and whisper as you read for the students.  "Now you try it.  Whisper read the first page of your book.  Great!  After you have learned how to whisper read, you read even quieter.  You do this by only moving your lips while you read.  You should not be making any sound when you do this.  Watch me as I read this page."  Read the next page by only moving your lips as you read and not making any sound. "Now I want you to try it.  Remember not to let any sound come out of your mouth.  You should only be moving your lips.  Good job!  Next is silent reading.  To do this, you read without making any sound or moving your lips.  I want you to watch as I silent read this page in my book."  Read the third page of the book silently without moving your lips or making any sound.  "Did you notice how I didn’t move my lips or make any sounds at all?  Now I want you to try it." 

5.  Allow students to silent read for a short time period (approximately ten minutes).  "Remember to cross check as you read silently so that you will understand what you are reading."

6.  For assessment, walk around as the students are working on silent reading with a checklist for each student with: lips moving/reading in a normal voice, lips moving/whispering, lips moving/no sound, lips not moving/no sound.  Complete the check list for each student and ask the students who appear to be silent readers a question or two about their book to make sure they are comprehending the text.


 -Eldredge, J. Lloyd. 1995. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  New Jersey.  Prentice Hall, Inc.

- Murray, Geri. 2001. Kids and Pets at Camp. The Reading Genie website.

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