Shh! It's Reading Time!

Growing Independence and Fluency

By: Bethany Bice

Rationale:  Silent Reading is a key component of independent reading and fluency.  It is important that students be allowed to choose their own books, as well as learn to read those books silently by themselves.  By doing this, students will begin to read voluntarily and they will also gain comprehension skills.  In this lesson, the students will choose their own book and practice reading it silently.

Materials: Chalkboard, Chalk, Classroom Reading Center with books for each student, Chart for the poem "A Cat, A Kid, and A Mom" by Shel Silverstein (From the book Falling Up. Silverstein, Shel. Harper Collins Publishers.), Student Reading Journal.


1. Introduce the lesson to the group of students.  "Today we are going to learn how to read a book silently to ourselves.  By practicing this often, you will all become better readers!  When reading a book silently to yourself, you are able to focus more on trying to remember what you read.  This is an important goal of skillful reading."

2. Review the Cross-Checking strategy with the group of students.  "Sometimes when I am reading, I will finish a sentence and think: Hey! That did not make sense!  What do I do?  Let's try to figure it out together."  (Write: I like to shop with my friends on the chalkboard).  "I am going to read this sentence aloud.  I like to ship with my friends.  Does this make sense?  I am going to read the sentence aloud one more time:  I like to sh-op with my friends.  Does this make more sense?  Yes!  I think that it does!  I used the strategy of Cross-Checking.  Using this strategy while reading will help us all to better remember and understand what we read."

3. Have the students go to the Classroom Reading Center and select a book for Silent Reading.  "Class, remember when choosing your book, to choose one that matches the color of your reading group."  (Most books in the Reading Center are color coordinated to match the different-leveled reading groups).  "Be sure to select a book based on your own interests.  Once you have selected your book, please return to your seat."

4. "Before we begin Silent Reading, we must practice it.  I want everyone to open their book to the first page and begin reading aloud."  (Allow the students a few minutes to read aloud).  "Okay now stop!  How did you feel with everyone reading aloud?  Was it hard to concentrate?"  "Let's try reading again and this time I want you to whisper read.  Let's whisper read the poem "A Cat, A Kid, and A Mom" by Shel Silverstein.  (This poem is displayed on a chart at the front of the room).  Ready?  Everyone whisper!"  (The students will whisper read the first stanza of the poem).  "Was this reading a little better?  Do you like it better than everyone reading aloud?  Let's see if we can read even quieter."  "This time I want you to move your lips while reading, but do not let any sound come out of your mouth.  Watch me as I read the second stanza of the poem."  (Model this strategy for the students).  "Now I want you to try!  Read the second stanza of the poem without making any sound."  (Allow time for the students to read).  "Great job everyone!  Now let's try to read silently!  This time try not to move your lips or make any sounds."  (Model this strategy for the students by silently reading the third stanza of the poem).  "Did you notice how my mouth did not move?  Could you hear any sounds?  Let's try Silent Reading the last stanza of the poem.  Ready?  Everyone Read Silently!"  (Allow time for the students to finish reading the last stanza of the poem).  "Great job everyone!"

5. "Now I would like for everyone to find a special place in the room where you would like to read.  Please go to your special place and begin reading your book silently.  We will read for 15 minutes."

6. For Assessment, observe the students as they read silently.  Complete an observation sheet with the following points: estimated amount of time spent on each page, does the student spend the entire time reading, is the student distracted, and what is the strategy with which he or she reads (whisper reading or completely silent).  Also, have the students write a journal entry about what they have just read.  The students should also write down one positive comment and one negative comment about Silent Reading in their journal.  The teacher can then assess if the student was able to comprehend what he or she read, if they have an understanding of how to read silently, and why this type of reading is important.


Meadors, Laura.  "Silence a Key to Successful Reading."

Bishop, Joni.  "Shh!  I'm Reading!"

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