It is Time for Silent Reading
Growing Independence and Fluency
Kendall Goodwin

Rationale:  An important goal for all students to achieve is voluntary reading.  By this stage of reading, students will be able to read familiar words at decode words at their reading level.  This activity incorporates silent reading and gives students the opportunity to choose the book themselves.  Free reading time can be given on a daily basis to encourage silent, voluntary reading.  Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately and quickly. When fluent readers silently, they recognize words automatically; they group words quickly to help them gain meaning from what they read.

Materials:  One book for each student and Silent Reading Progress Sheet.

1.  Today we are going to learn how to read silently during our free reading time.  Everyone will get to choose a book that they like to read

2. How many of you like to go to the library and pick out books you like to read?  Today, we are going to the library and everyone will get some time to choose a book.  Or the students can choose from a bin of books color coded to indicate reading level.  Make sure you have read a few pages from the book first before deciding if you like it.  Don't just rely on the pictures.  Also, after you have picked a book, you must bring it to me and let me listen to you read some of it. (The teacher will administer the "two finger test")
In the two finger test, students are asked to select a page from the book to read to themselves. They hold up two fingers on one hand as they begin to read. Each time the student encounters a word that is hard to read, her or she puts down one finger. If two fingers are in the down position before a student finishes reading the page, the book is probably too difficult. The student probably should put the book back on the shelf and look for one that won't be so hard.
 When everyone has chosen a book, we will come back and learn how to read silently.

3. Reading silently is fun.  Since we have never read silently, I first want everyone to begin reading his or her books in a whisper voice.  Do you remember how we whisper (allow the students to practice this skill while reading for a few minutes)?  Very good.  Now, we are going to read in an even quieter voice. I want you to only move your lips when you say the words.  There should not be any sound coming out of your mouths.  We should only be moving our lips.  Let's try saying our ABC's by just moving our lips.  Very good.  Now, everyone read your book by only moving your lips (allow students to practice this skill for a few minutes).  We are now to the part where we can read silently.  When you read, I want everyone to read their books without moving their lips or making any sounds.  Everyone watch while I show you how to read silently.  Now, everyone begin reading his or her books silently (you should read silently at your desk to set an example).  Allow students to read silently at their desks for about 10-15 minutes or the students can read during DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) or SSR  (Sustained Silent Reading).

4. For assessment, while the students are reading silently, walk around and observe them. Then have each of the students' one by one read to you silently.  Also, have the students give a brief summary either written or orally about their book.  The students can use their Silent Reading Progress Sheet to write on.

Educational World states, "Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) -- or DEAR (Drop Everything And Read), as some people call it -- can be one more tool for developing lifelong readers.

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

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