Shhhh I’m Reading!

Growing Independence and Fluency

Katie Swanson



Rationale: Fluent readers recognize words automatically when they read. Fluent readers read faster, expressively, silently, and voluntarily.  Students become fluent readers by reading and rereading words.  Students have to practice reading in order to become fluent readers so learning to read silently takes a few steps. In this lesson students will learn to read silently by watching the modeling and reading and rereading the text, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit.”


Copy of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” for each child, Sentence strips with “Here comes Peter Cotton Tail, hopping down the bunny trail” written on them, silent reading checklist for each student

                        Silent reading checklist:

                        _____ Read Aloud

                        _____ Reads in a whisper

                        _____ Reads while moving lips

                        _____  Reads silently



1. “We have learned how to decode words that we didn’t know before. And we now know that when we read certain letters they make certain sounds.  You all are now able to read faster and smoother and are on your way to being a fluent reader.  One other thing a fluent reader does is read silently.  Has there ever been a time when you were somewhere and wanted to read but you had to be quiet? Well today we are going to work on reading silently.  Everyone does such a good job of reading out loud that I know you all will do a great job learning to read silently.”

2. “When you read silently you say the words in your head instead of out loud like we have been doing. If you come to a word you don’t know, you do the same thing as when you read out loud. So you can use cover-ups, cross check, and reread the sentence.  I know you all do all of those things so well already so now you just know one more how to use them.”

3. “I am going to show you how to read silently. First we’ll start with reading out loud.” Read sentence strips. “Next I am going to read in a whisper.”  Read sentences. “Third I am going only going to move my lips when I read but no sound will come out.” Read sentence. “Finally I am just going to read the sentence to myself.” Read sentence. “When you read silently you still need to make sure that you understand what you are reading so it is a good idea to ask yourself questions after you read.”

4.”Now we are going to read a story called The Tale of Peter Rabbit. One day, Mrs. Rabbit goes to the bakery, leaving Peter and his sisters, Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail to play and gather berries in the forest. Disobeying his mother’s orders, Peter sneaks into Mr. McGregor’s garden and eats as many vegetables as he can before Mr. McGregor spots him and chases him around. We’ll just have to read to learn what happens to Peter Rabbit.” Pass story out to students and have them only read the first two pages of the story for each of the following steps. “Alright boys and girls, we’re going to do the first step in learning how to read silently. Who remembers what that is? Right, we’re going to read out loud and this time we’re all going to read out loud together.’ Read the first two pages.

5. “Who remembers the second step? Whisper reading is right. Now lets all try that together. Great Job! What was the next step? Ok so let’s all move our lips as we read. You all did so well. Now let’s just read to ourselves.” As students are doing each of the steps walk around the room to make sure they are doing the correct step.

6. “Alright boys and girls now I am going to put you with a partner to read the whole story.  Your partner is going to watch you as you read and check off each of the steps as you read so that means you are going to read the story four times.” Put students into pairs and pass out silent reading check list to each student. Walk around the room to each pair to make sure they are on task and understanding the activity.

7. Once students are done with working in their partners bring students back together to discuss the story.  Ask questions like “What happened to Peter? What did Peter eat in the garden? What did he lose?”

Assessment: Later the same day or the next, have the students silent read “The Tale Peter Rabbit” in front of you and use the same checklist they used in their partner work to check off how the student read.


“Sshhh…Someone is listening” By Rachael Elliot

“SHHHHHH We’re Reading” by Erin Taylor

“The Tale of Peter Rabbit” by Beatrix Potter

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