Shh!  I am trying to READ!
Growing Independence and Fluency
By: Meaghan Lambert


Rationale:     A very important component of reading fluently is the ability to silently read.  As a teacher, it is also extremely important that you have available a classroom library diverse enough for your students to choose their own books, as well as learn to read them silently.  By doing this, students will begin to read voluntarily and they will also gain comprehension skills.  In this lesson students will be able to choose their own book and practice reading it silently, and hopefully they will see that this is not something they are forced into doing, but something that is fun!



*         A classroom library enriched with a variety of books to choose from (color-coded depending on level).

*         Teacher's book of choice.

*         Dry erase board.

*         Dry erase markers.

*         Big book copy of Jan Brett's The Hat (Brett, Jan.  The Hat.  New York, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. 1997.)

*         Chart with "Stuck on a word?" strategies on it (see attached example).

*         "Stuck on a word?" bookmark for every student (see attached example).



 1.      Begin the lesson by introducing what you plan to do.  Ask the students if they are ever in a quiet place where you can't really talk.  "Have you ever been somewhere maybe with your mom or dad where there was not anything to play with because you had to be quiet?  Have you ever thought about reading a book during this time?  Well,  today we are going to learn how fun it is when you read a book silently to yourself!  By practicing reading this way, you will all become better readers!  When you read a book to yourself, silently, you are able to focus more on what you are reading.  This is very important to you as you become a better reader!  Reading can be so much fun,  let's learn about silent reading!

 2.      [Click here for bookmark.]  Next, we will review our "stuck on a word" strategy.  Pass out the bookmarks to the class (see attached example), so that they may use as a reference if they have trouble, and as a bookmark.  Model how the strategy works.  "Sometimes when I am reading a book, I stop after I read a sentence and think to myself, I don't think that made sense!  I am going to show you an example.  Read the sentence "I love to read bikes about cats." (that you have prewritten on the board).  Ask the class if the sentence makes sense?  Model on the board the strategy cover-up, cover the word and reveal only one letter at a time.  "I love to read b-o-o-k-s about cats!"  "Does this make more sense?  I think so!  Refer to the chart with the "stuck on a word" strategies.  They may look at their bookmark or at the chart.  Explain all of the ways you can use to figure out why a sentence is not making sense. 

 3.      Now, the teacher will model how to read silently.  You can use any big book, for this lesson, I have chosen Jan Brett's The Hat.  It is best to use a big book so that the students can see exactly what the teacher is doing.  "In our reading groups, we sometimes read out loud, don't we?" [Allow time for response.]  Begin reading loudly the first page of the book.  "Is this how we are supposed to read  in class?"  [Allow time for response.]  "No, we are supposed to use our quiet voice."  Now, model whisper reading.  "When we are supposed to read silently to ourselves, should we read like this?"  [Allow time for response.]  Now, model silent reading by only moving your mouth and not saying out loud the words to the story.  "This boys and girls is how you read silently.  You can move your mouth to the words, or you can read in your head!  Now, I want you to read the page I just read in your whisper voice.  Now read the page in our silent voice, you can move your mouth or read in your head."  [Use this time to assess which students are reading silently without using their whisper voice, regular voice, and even note the students who are not having to move their mouth as they read.] 

 4.      "EXCELLENT JOB EVERYONE!!  I think that you are ready to try reading silently to yourself. "  Allow the student to go to the classroom library and pick out a book that interests them.  Remind them that they need to pick a book with their reading level color on the spine.  (Most of the books in the classroom library will be color coded into reading levels, and the students may choose any book that falls under their color for their particular reading level.)  "Once you have selected your book, please find your special reading spot, either at your desk or in the reading well."

 5.      "Now I would like for everyone to practice silent reading to themselves.  Remember we can't read out loud, we have to read in our head!  We will read for 15 minutes.  When you hear the bell ring, you may put your book up and return to your seat."  [Set the timer for 15-17 minutes, allowing a few extra minutes to settle down and get into the book.]


Assessment:  For assessment, observe the students while they are reading silently to themselves.  It is also important for the students to see you reading a book you                         have chosen at your desk.  But you can observe and read at the same time.  Once the students have finished reading, have them return to their                                 seats and get out their journals.  Ask them to write about what they have just read, and what they thought about the book.  Once they have                                     finished that, have them write one or two things they liked or disliked about silent reading.  The teacher may collect the journals to complete the                                 assessment on whether or not the student comprehended what they read, and whether or not they were able to successfully read silently. 


Brett, Jan.  The Hat.  New York, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. 1997.

 Shh! It's Reading Time!  By Bethany Rice:

 "Silence a Key to Successful Reading" by Laura Meadors:

The Reading Genie Website, Dr. Bruce Murray"

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