Jennifer O'Meara
Growing Independence and Fluency

Shh, it's reading time!!

Rationale:  It is important for students to learn to read silently.  Children will improve their comprehension of text while reading silently.  This activity gives students the opportunity to select a book that interests them so they can discover how silent reading is a wonderful and useful tool.

Materials:  A large selection of books of different ability levels, a big book of the teacher's choice, a journal/notebook for each student.

1.) Introduce the lesson; "Today we are going to learn and practice how to read silently.  By reading to yourself you will all become better readers.  When we read it is important to understand and remember what we read, and reading silently will help us achieve this!"
2.) The teacher must have a corner set up in the room with a large variety of books of different levels and interests for children to select from.  "I am going to give you each the responsibility of selecting a book of your choice from the reading corner for your silent reading book."  The teacher will allow small groups of students to go to the corner to select a book.  After the student has chosen a book they must bring the book to the teacher so that she can approve the book for the child's ability level.
3.) Once each student has picked out a book the teacher will model silent reading.  "Does everyone remember when we learned how to whisper read?  Let's practice our whisper reading for a minute."  Teacher will select one of the big books in the classroom to review whisper reading with the children.  The teacher will open the book to any page to use for the class to practice.  The class will whisper read along with the teacher.  "Now that we remember how to whisper read, I want everyone to read this page of the book by moving your mouth like we do when we whisper read, but I do not want any sound to come out, it should be absolutely silent."  Teacher models first and then class joins in with her. "Great job I did not hear anyone's voice! Now I want you to read this same page but do not move your lips or make a sound.  I want you think about the sounds the letters make in your head as you read the words to yourself."  Have the children practice reading the same page silently.  The teacher can observe the students while using a checklist with these levels of assessment: vocal, whisper, lips only, silent.
4.) Now tell the children that they can choose a spot in the room to read their book silently for ten minutes.  The teacher can set a timer on her desk that will go off when the ten minutes are up.  The teacher will also have a book that she is reading for pleasure, and will read this book for the amount of time the children read.
5.) When the time is up the teacher will instruct the children to go to their desks and take out their journals.  The teacher will ask the children to write a journal entry about what they had just read.  The teacher will also ask the students to write down what they enjoyed about reading silently and what they did not enjoy.  The teacher will collect the journal for assessment.
6.) After the children have completed their journal entry they will gather together again and have a discussion on the importance of silent reading.  The class can then talk openly about their silent reading experience.  They can discuss the problems some may have had while silent reading and how each student can become a better silent reader.

Reading Genie Website:
Eldredge, J.L. (1995). Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc., Ch. 9

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