Growing Independence and Fluency

Shhh!!! I’m reading


 Wade Thaxton

Rationale:    A very important part of reading fluency is the ability to read without saying the words out loud.  As teachers, we need to explain to our class that reading out loud is a good idea when you are reading to a group, but that most of the time in life we will need to read silently to ourselves.  In these times, it will only be important that we understand what we are reading. Silent reading can help in comprehension and decoding skills. This lesson will provide students with practice reading silently by allowing them to read and reread decodable text until they achieve this.


Class set of the book Wemberly Worried. Henkes, Kevin. Greenwillow Books, 2000

Chart with the sentence “The cat is ten years old.”

Silent Reading checklist for each student

Check List:

___Reads aloud

___Reads in a whisper

___Reads while moving lips

___Reads silently


1.  Introduction:  Go over with the students the importance of reading and the ability of reading silently.  “Class today we are going to begin to read silently rather than aloud.  You all have done such a great job reading aloud I know you’re ready to read silently to yourselves.  Reading silently is very important because some times it is not polite to read aloud.”  This helps students use different strategies and change speeds of reading.   Also review with students the strategy of using cover-ups to decode words. Show the word flash on the board. Cover up all but the vowel and read the sound /a/. Then uncover the first letter to read /f/.  Then the /fl/ Last, uncover the last two letters /sh/. Then say, /fl/ /a/ /sh/, to read flash.   

2. Explain how students can use silent reading. When we go to the library what is the number one rule? (to be quiet!) If everybody in this class read aloud at the same time do you think you would be able to concentrate on what you where reading? (No!  It would be way too loud).  Instead you should read the book to yourself.  

3. Model to students how to read the sentence “The cat is ten years old.” First, I will read this sentence out loud. The cat is ten y…….: I don’t know what this word is, so I will use cover-ups to the read it.”  I know that ea = /E/ and y says /y/.  rs=/rs/ so /y/ /E/ /rs/. “Oh, that says years.  “The cat is ten years old.” Now I will try reading this in a softer voice. (Read sentence). Now I will read this sentence in a whisper (Read sentence). Now I will read this sentence just moving my lips. (Read sentence). Now here’s the last step. I can read this sentence silently. Also, it is important for me to think about if I understand what I have just read in my head. How old was the cat? (10 years old.)

4. Whole texts used will be Wemberly Worried. Provide each student with a copy.  Give book talk:  "A mouse named Wemberly is a bit of a worrier. She worries about everything in fact! Soon, Wemberly has a new thing to add to her list of worries: her first day of school is coming soon, and now Wemberly is really worried. Does Wemberly make it through the first day without much worry? We will have to read our book to find out." Have students try reading the book silently. If they have trouble, instruct them to use the method taught above to try to achieve silent reading.

5.  Assessment will be in the form of a checklist. Make observations of each student while they read and mark the following.

___Reads aloud

___Reads in a whisper

___Reads while moving lips

___Reads silently

To see if the students comprehend the story, have them write about Wemberly Worried.   

Another assessment is to write a passage on board and have them read it silently and then ask them what the passage meant.

Passage: John had one dog.  John’s dogs name is Bud.  Bud is black and white. John and Bud like to play with a red ball

Questions: What was the boys name?  What was John’s dogs’ name?  What color was
Bud the dog?  What did John and Bud like to play with?


  Henkes, Kevin. Wemberly Worried. Greenwillow Books, 2000. , You Can’t Hear Me, Gina Reynolds

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