Sh-Sh-Sh-Sh-SHHHHHH Reading
A Design for Growing Independence and Fluency
By: Yolanda Routh

Rationale:  Students will be able to read silently for an extended period of time.  This type of reading will help students expand their fluency.  Students need to become fluent readers so that reading will become enjoyable and they can begin to read voluntarily.  In this lesson, students will have silent reading modeled for them.  Then, the whole class will practice.  Next, Sustained Silent Reading will be implemented in our classroom.

Materials:  Shel Silverstein Poem "Sick" located in Where the Sidewalk Ends published by HarperCollins (pages 58-59), a classroom library, student journals, pencils, paper, chalk, pointer


1. Introduce the lesson by asking children why we need to learn to read silently.  "Today students, we are going to learn to read silently.  Does anyone know why we need to read silently?"  Explain how sometimes (for example, in a doctor's office), other people do not want to be disturbed or hear you reading.

2. Next, put the first couple of lines from Shel Silverstein's poem, "Sick" on the board.  Write on the board, "'I cannot go to school today,' said little Peggy Ann McKay."  Now, ask everyone to imagine that they are at the library trying to do homework on the computer.  Ask them, "What would you think if I was sitting beside you reading: "'I CANNOT GO TO SCHOOL TODAY,' SAID LITTLE PEGGY ANN MCKAY."  (yell this part).  The children will say that they would not enjoy that.  Next, tell the children to imagine the same situation.  This time, simply move your mouth with no words coming out.  "Do you think this is better?"  Next, do it with no mouth moves.  Ask the children which one they preferred.

3. Next, write some more lines on the board.  Write, "I have the measles and the mumps, a gash, a rash and purple bumps."  Then, tell the children to imagine they are in church.  Have the whole class yell, "I HAVE THE MEASLES AND THE MUMPS, A GASH, A RASH AND PURPLE BUMPS."  Ask the children if they think that would be okay.  Next, have the children mouth out the mouth moves with you.  Go through word by word.  Next, let everyone read silently.

4. Next, talk about how when we are in public places or do not want to interrupt a friend, we use silent reading.  "We are also going to use silent reading in our class.  Everyday until the end of the year, we will spend thirty minutes silent reading.  Once we get real good at it, we will have a Read-In.  This is where we will all bring out sleeping bags and silent read all day!"

5. Now, I want everyone to pick out a book and we are going to start our Sh-Sh-Sh-Sh Silent reading today.  Remember to look at the first page and use the two-finger rule.  If there are two words on that page you do not know, pick another book.  Have all children silent read.  Explain, "Children, I am going to Sh-Sh-Sh-Sh Silent Read also.  It's not only important for children to silent read, but teachers and parents also.  In fact, it's important for everyone to silent read!"

6. After children have silent read for thirty minutes, have them write in their reading journal.  They need to write a quick summary of their book.

7. This will serve as the assessment.  Check journals to make sure students read and understood what they were reading.  Have a checklist that includes having a topic sentence, one or two important ideas, and a closure sentence.  Also, make sure the books they picked were generally at their level and not to easy or difficult.

References:  Murray, B.A.  "Developing Reading Fluency." {online} Available

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