Shhhhh, I am trying to read!
Growing Independence and Fluency
Megan Murphy

An important goal for all students is to learn to appreciate reading and enjoy voluntary reading.  By the time a student has reached the point where they need to work on silent reading, they have already learned to decode words, and they have a decent site vocabulary built up.  In order to develop fluency, students need to be able to read silently.  The following activity incorporates both voluntary reading and silent reading.  The students will read silently a book of their choice.  They will choose a book based on the two finger test.

a book of the students choice (I would reccomend If you Give a Mouse a Cookie or If You Give a Moose a Muffin by: Laura Joffe Numeroff), reading journals for every student, pencils

1. The lesson will begin with a trip to the library.  The teacher will have each student choose a book to bring back to the classroom to read silently.  The teacher will explain an effective way to choose a book.  "Class I want you to go around the library for the next twenty minutes and try and choose a book you would be interested in reading.  Remember all the book talks we have had, and also all the peer reviews of books from our classroom library.  When choosing a book it is important to follow the "2-finger" test.  I will show you how to perform this test".  The teacher will open a book at any random page.  "Okay, I am going to read this page and when I get to a word I don't know I am going to put up one finger."  The teacher reads through the page making two mistakes and with each mistake she puts up a finger.  "Okay, I have two fingers up, so that means this book is too hard for me and I need to choose another book.  Now, I want you to search the library for a book using the two finger test".  As the students search for books, the teacher goes around making sure they are accurately using the "2-finger" test.
2. When the teacher and the students return to the classroom, the teacher will ask the students to sit on the floor, so she can model silent reading.  "Who knows why silent reading is so important?  Sometimes our voice gets tired from reading out loud to much, and sometimes it's impolite to read out loud when you are in a quiet place.  Today we are going to practice our silent reading skills and I am going to show you how I silent read with this book."  The teacher begins by reading the first sentence at a normal speaking voice.  The next sentence she speaks in a whisper.  During the third sentence on the page she is only moving her mouth, and by the last sentence she is silently reading.  "This is a great way to practice silent reading.  I want you guys to start the first sentence of you book out loud and continue to get quieter with every sentence until you are reading silently.  Once you have gotten to the silent level, I want you to stay silent for the rest of the book.  Reading silently is just like reading aloud, but you hear it in your head instead of speaking it with your voice.
3. "Now I want everyone to take their book and find a quiet place in the room to practice your silent reading skills.  Don't worry about the time we are reading, I will keep track of that and let you know when our quiet reading time is over."  (While students are reading silently, teacher is also reading silently at her desk)
4. "Okay class, our silent reading time is over.  Now I would like for you to take out your reading journal and write about what you read today.  You can write a summary of the story, or you can write about your favorite character.  It is totally up to you!"

As an assessment, the teacher will walk around while the students are reading and fill out an observational checklist.  The checklist may have "student is reading with only mouth movements" or "student is silently reading".  The teacher will take up the student's reading journals and check to make sure they are reading their book and comprehending enough text to write a quality journal entry.  Throughout the week, the teacher will have a conference with the individual child to talk about the text they are reading, and the student can share their ideas with the teacher.

 "Sh-Sh-Sh-Sh-SHHHHHH" by: Yolanda Routh (reading genie website)
"SHHH!  It is time for silent reading" by: Kendall Goodwin (reading genie website)