“Shh.. It’s a Secret” Reading

 Growing Independence and Fluency Design

Jennifer Russell


Rationale: The ability to be able to read to oneself is one of the most satisfying components of reading. Once the student has mastered decoding skills, then the next step to becoming a fluent reader is learning to silent read. It is essential that students are able to read silently because they are then able to be independent readers where they can enhance their skills. Reading silently will increase the automaticity, pace, and ease that the child reads as well as a love for voluntary reading. Students will learn how to silent read by first reading aloud, whisper reading, reading while moving lips, and then eventually reading silently.



Class set of Iggy Pig’s Silly Day! By Vivian French, check list


Check List:

  Reads aloud fluently  ___

  Reads in a whisper  ___

  Reads while moving lips ___

                    Reads silently ___



1. Introduction Say: “You are all wonderful readers. One of the most special things about reading is that you can read and enjoy a book all by yourself without having to bother anyone. You can do that by reading silently. Reading silently also helps you practice being fluent readers. Reading to yourself helps you read faster, and it also helps you understand the book better!”

2.  Directions Say: “We are going to learn how to read silently by practicing reading out loud, whispering, only moving our lips, and then we will practice reading silently. We are going to practice by reading the first page in our book, Iggy Pig’s Silly Day. Iggy the pig loves to skip and skips all over town. A big grey hungry animal asks to join Iggy and skip with him. Is the grey animal going to eat Iggy? We are going to have to read to find out!

3.  Reading Aloud Say: "Let’s practice reading the first sentence in our books. First, let me show you how we would read this sentence. Iggy Pig was skipping. “Watch me skip, Mother Pig! Watch me skip!”(Read with expression at a steady pace). Okay, now it is your turn to echo read back to me. One more time! Remember, when we read a passage more than once it helps us be good readers. Great job!

4. Whisper Reading Say: “Now, we are going to read this same page in a whisper. I like to call this secret reading because it is like you are telling someone a secret. We are very quiet so no one else can hear unless they really try. I am going to show you how to whisper-a-secret read. Listen closely and follow along in your books. Iggy Pig was skipping. “Watch me skip, Mother Pig! Watch me skip!” (Read is a whisper audible for them to hear.) Okay now I want you to show me how to whisper-a-secret read. You should barely to be able to hear the people around you and you should still use expression like we did when we read aloud. I loved how softly you read that, but still used expression!

5. Moving Lips Say: “Next, we are going to practice reading with only our lips moving. This is also like telling a secret because we can’t hear the person, but we can see what they are seeing when they use their lips. I am going to show you how to secret read using our lips, I call this secret-lips.  Watch my lips carefully. Iggy Pig was skipping. “Watch me skip, Mother Pig! Watch me skip!” (Slowly read using lips and no sound). Could you hear a sound? No, I only used my lips. Now it is your turn. I want you to listen to your thoughts as you read and tell me if you can hear yourself reading although you are only using your lips. Great! Could you hear yourself reading in your thoughts? That is how we silent read!

6.   Silent Reading Say: Now that you have experienced what silent reading is like, we are going to practice, but this time we wont even move our lips. We already read secretly, now it is time to keep that secret in our heads and not tell a soul! I am going to read silently to myself, and I want you to watch my face very carefully to make sure I am not moving my mouth and my eyes are following the words. (Read silently). What did you notice about me as I read to myself? I could hear myself reading although I wasn’t making any sound. I was using my thoughts to read. Now, I want you to practice reading silently and I will come around the room to watch your faces.

7. Practice Say: Now, I want you to practice reading this book secretly          

    and silently. You can practice whisper reading, lip reading, and  

    reading silently. Show me what you got!


8. Assessment:

As the children are reading, I will call them each up to my desk when I feel they’ve had enough practice. I will pick a page in the book and have them first read aloud, then whisper read, then silently read while moving lips, and then read silently. I will use the check list for each child.

Check List:

  Reads Aloud Fluently  ___

  Reads in a whisper  ___

  Reads while moving lips ___

                  Reads silently ___


After the assessment is completed we will talk about what we have just read. (Ask comprehension questions to make sure they understand what is going on in the book). Comprehension questions: What was the big grey animal? Why did the big grey animal run away at the end of the story?



Carley Leavitt. “Shh! I’m Reading!!”


French, Vivian, and David Melling. Iggy Pig's Silly Day. New York: Scholastic, 2002. Print.


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