Quiet As A Mouse
By Randi Lipscomb

Rationale:  Voluntary reading is an important goal for skilled readers.  They should, by this stage, be able to decode words at their reading level.  Giving a free reading time during the day encourages students to read silently and voluntarily.  Through free reading they will be given a choice of the book that they are to read.  Fluency is the ability to read text accurately and quickly.  When fluent readers read silently, they are able read automatically and with comprehension.

Materials:  One book for each child (I would recommend Alexander and the Horrible Terrible, No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst or If You give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff)
*Optional:  reading area in room for children to read, such, with pillows or sofa.


1.  Today class we are going to learn the importance of reading silently and how to read silently.  Everyone will get to choose a book that they would like to read.  Can anyone tell me why it might be important to read silently?  Explain how in public place people do not want to be disturbed by you reading out loud such as when you are in the dentist or doctor's office.
2.  Now allow the children to choose a book based on their reading level.  Encourage then to demonstrate the "two finger test" to accurately choose a book.  (The "two finger test" is where the children will read the first page of a book and for every word that they encounter a word that is too hard for them to read they put up a finger.  If more than two fingers go up, then they should choose another book because this book is too hard) You may also want to take the students to the school library to choose a book or use the classroom library.  When everyone has chosen a book, have him or her sit back in his or her seats.  On the board write a sentence from one of books that the children have chosen. For an example: "I have bumps all over my hairy toes."  Have everyone imagine that they are at the library and the person sitting next to them is reading "I have bumps all over my hairy toes." (Say this part very loudly, may yell).  Ask the students if they would enjoy having some one read like this to them.   Then, read the same sentence moving only your mouth without sound.  Ask the class if they would prefer this over the other.
3.  Now have the children open up to the first page of their books.  Have everyone start reading out loud at the same time.  Let them see how chaotic it would be with our silent reading.  Then remind the students of how they whisper read.  Now class, I want every one to begin reading just like you were, but this time, I want you to whisper read.  Good!  This time we are going to get even quieter.  I want everyone to everyone to only move their lips but do not let any sound come out.  Class lets try and say our ABC's only moving our lips.  That was great!  Now I want everyone to continue reading in your book only using your lips.  (Give students a few minutes to practice).  Now we are going to read silently.  They only difference is that you are not going to move your mouth this time you are going to read to yourself.  (Teacher should give an example).  Now everyone should read his or her books silently (teacher should sit at her desk or an area in the room and read silently also).  You may want to use the DEAR program-Drop Everything And Read or the SSR ö sustained silent reading.
4.  For the assessment have the students write a summary of their book in their reading journals.  They could also give book talks to the class when they complete their book.
Recommended checklist observations:
· Tell about beginning of book
· Tell about the problem in the story
· Tell about the meat of the story
· Tell the ending of the story


Murray, B.A.  "Developing Reading Fluency."  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/fluency.html

"Sh-Sh-Sh-Sh- Shhhhhh Reading öA Design for Growing Independence and Fluency" by Yolanda Routh.  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/openings/routhgf.html

"Shhh! It Time For Silent Reading- A Design for Growing Independence and Fluency" by Kendall Goodwin.  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/openings/goodwingf.html

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

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