Amber Mullinax
Growing Independence and Fluency

Reading in My Head

Rational: To increase reading speed and comprehension, students must learn to read silently. They must learn to read without saying the words out loud. In this lesson students will learn the steps they must take in order to read silently. They will read decodable books of their choice. In this lesson students are encouraged to read quickly and for comprehension.

Materials: One poster with "Once there were three bears who lived in the woods. They liked to hunt and fish for their food. One day they decided to move to the city where they could shop." On it, One poster with "The popcorn exploded in the microwave." on it, a library of decodable books and copies of a short decodable story for the whole class to read for an assessment.

1. I would begin the lesson by asking the children "why we read?". "We read to learn about things. If we read slowly we forget what the first sentence said and if we all read out loud at the same time; we might get distracted by the others around us." I would have the children all take out their readers and I would have them all read out loud to show them how distracting that could be. "Don't you think that it would be a good idea if the whole class learned to read silently?"

2. " To learn how to be a good silent reader, you must start out slowly. I am going to show you the three steps to reading silently. The first step is to read in a whisper. Watch as I read these sentences in a whisper. 'Once there were three bears who lived in the woods. They liked to hunt and fish for their food. One day they decided to move to the city where they could shop.' Now I am going to read the story again and this time I am only going to move my lips. Did everyone see my lips move? While I was reading I was saying the words to myself. Now watch as I read the story silently."

3. "When I am reading silently, sometimes I come across words that I don't know. When this happens, I have to take an educated guess. First, I try to blend the phonemes together to get the correct pronunciation. Then I try to read the rest of the sentence and try to figure out what the author is trying to say. This is called cross-checking. We have talked about this before, but I wanted to review it because it is very important in silent reading. Watch as I use cross-checking to figure out this sentence. ' The popcorn expl /o/ ded in the m/i/cr/o/wave.' Wait that did not make sense. I am going to reread that sentence 'The popcorn exploded in the microwave.' Oh! That makes much more sense. I went back and tried to pronounce the phonemes in different ways and then I went back and reread the sentence until it made sense."

4. " Class I would like for you to all go over to the bookshelf and find a book that you have already read or that you would like to read and find a comfortable place to sit. Don't pick a book that is too hard for you and if you are not sure if a book is too hard for you, use the two-finger rule. Remember if there are two words that you don't know on a page that the book is probably to hard. I want everyone to read their book either at a whisper or silently, then we are going to tell your group about the book you just read. This is not a contest to see how fast you can read, this is for you to practice your reading comprehension skills."

For Assessment: I would call on them to tell me about the book that they read. I could judge the amount of their comprehension by asking general to detailed questions about the book they choose to read. I would also have them read a short paragraph silently, then have them put events in the order that they occurred in the story. While they were reading, I would also pay attention to who was whispering, who was reading by moving their lips and who has begun to really read silently.

Reference: My third grade teacher, Mrs. Bettye Hixon St. Nicholas school, Chattanooga Tennessee 1988.
Wilson, P. (1992). Among Nonreaders: Voluntary Reading, Reading Achievment, and the Development of Reading Habits. In C. Temple and P. Collins (Eds.), Stories and readers:New Perspectives on literature in the elementary classroom (pp. 157-169). Norwood, MA: Christopher Gordon.

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