Melanee Erwin
Growing Independence

Please Read Quietly!

Rationale: For children to become fluent readers, they must be able to read silently.  Children gain a better comprehension of the text when reading silently.  This lesson will help children discover silent reading as a tool for understanding books.  The children will read silently with a book of their own choosing.

Materials: A large selection of books that are decodable and of varying abilities and a short decodable text for the class to read for assessment.

1. Introduce the lesson by saying ã Today we are going to learn how to read silently.  It is important to read silently because it helps us to understand and remember important things from the book.  It also helps us become better readers.
2. I would then ask the children if they had ever tried to read in a noisy room.  When a few responses are given, I would then ask if they remembered what they had read in the book.  ãI would guess that you probably did not.  The reason for this is that it is very hard to comprehend (understand) what we are reading when a place is very noisy.  Letâs try reading a story while others are talking.ä  Give some students the opportunity to read while others talk.  Then ask: ãdid you understand very much of what you read?  It is very difficult isnât it?  That is why we are going to learn how to read silently today.ä
3. ãReading silently is very easy.  The first thing to do is to read to yourself in a whisper.  Listen to me read The Napping House in a whisper.ä I will whisper the first page:  ãThere is a house, a napping house, where everyone is sleeping.ä  ã Now I want you all to try reading your book in a whisper.  Read three sentences or so.  Great!  In the next step, we must only move our lips as we read.  Watch me as I read using only my lips, not my voice.  ãAnd in that house, there is a bed, a cozy bed, in a napping house, where everyone is sleeping.ä  Now you try reading two sentences in your book.  Remember to only move your lips.  The last step in silent reading is to only move your eyes across the page of the book as you read it.  Our lips do not move and voices are not heard.  Watch as I silently read another page in The Napping House.ä Silently read a page making sure all students can see your face.  ãNow everyone try to read silently for one minute.  Good job!ä
4. ãNow that we have practiced, letâs try to read silently in our own books for ten minutes.  I will flash the lights when you have one minute left in your silent reading.  This will allow you to finish up the paragraph or page you are reading.  Be sure to read silently so that others are not disturbed.ä  The teacher should model silent reading as well during this time.
5. ãDid anyone notice how much easier it is to read when it is quiet?  What are some reasons why we read silently?ä  We read silently to increase our understanding of the test and to become better readers:  more accurate and fluent in reading.  ãEveryone did a great job reading silently.  We will practice this each day for the same amount of time.  You will be able to choose the books you wish to read.ä
6. For assessment, I will have the class read a decodable book.  This will be a book I have chosen for the class.  This ensures that all students are capable of reading it.  After reading, I will have each student write a short summary about the book.  The students will then discuss their paragraphs individually with the teacher.  The teacher can use this time to assess the studentsâ comprehension through questioning of the summary.

Eldredge, J. Lloyd.  (1995).  Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  New Jersey:
     Prentice Hall, Inc.  19.

Click here to return to Illuminations.

For further information, send email to