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Scaffold Mindful Silent Reading

Corwin Press
Help students internalize and routinize their reading comprehension monitoring with this sample lesson.

One way to scaffold mindful silent reading is by teaching students a set of prompts or procedures to use as they read. This type of scaffolding helps students to engage in mindful reading but gradually releases to them the responsibility for using a variety of cognitive strategies, such as activating prior knowledge and questioning the author. A sample lesson is shown below.

Another way to scaffold silent reading for comprehension is to teach six signals that indicate a need for comprehension repair. These signals function as prompts for struggling readers to help them internalize and routinize comprehension monitoring.

6 Signals

  • The inner voice inside the reader’s head stops its conversation with the text and only the reader’s voice is heard pronouncing the words.
  • The camera inside the reader’s head shuts off, and the reader can no longer visualize what is happening.
  • The reader’s mind begins to wander, and the reader becomes aware of thinking about something far removed from the text.
  • The reader cannot remember or retell what has been read.
  • The reader is not getting clarifying questions answered.
  • Characters are reappearing in the text and the reader doesn’t recall who they are.

Sample Lesson for Scaffolding Silent Reading (15-20 minutes)

First Read

Teacher script

Before you read, think about what you already know about the topic. Also look for two words that might be challenging. Underline those words or put a sticky arrow on them.

Student action

Students skim through the text looking for challenging words. They underline them or put down a sticky arrow.

___________

Teacher script

Now read the passage silently. If you finish reading before others, please write a sentence telling the main idea of the passage on your whiteboard.

Student action

Students take as much time as they need to read the passage silently.

__________

Teacher script

Now that you have read the passage, write down a few words or phrases that will help you remember what is important about the topic.

Student action

Students jot down their key words or phrases or construct or complete a simple graphic organizer.

Second Read

Teacher script

Now I’m going to read the selection aloud as you read along silently. Follow along with me. (Teacher reads the passage aloud at the target rate per minute.)

Student action

Students follow along as the teacher reads orally.

__________

Teacher script

What is one thing the author wants you to remember from this selection? Write it on your whiteboard.

Student action

Students write down what they think the author wants them to remember on a whiteboard or in their reading journal.

Third Read

Teacher script

Now read the selection one more time. Your goal is to read as much of the passage as you can in one minute. (Teacher stops the reading after one minute and tells students to circle or put down a sticky arrow on the last word they read before time was called.)

Student action

Students read the passage silently. Students circle or put down a sticky arrow on the last word read.

__________

Teacher script

Write a question on your white board that you would like to ask the author if he or she were here in the classroom with us.

Student action

Students write their questions.

__________

Teacher script

Let’s ask each other some of these questions and see if we can read the author’s mind.

Source: Adapted from Heibert (2003) and Heibert and Fisher (2002).

One caveat before you are tempted to give your struggling students a handout with these six signals listed and announce that whenever these things happen, they need to refocus their attention. Struggling readers won’t know what you are talking about. They hear no inner voices. They see no cameras or video recorders. Start from scratch and think aloud for students about one signal at a time. Explain very clearly what your inner voice is saying to you at various times. Tell them precisely where you zoned out and started thinking about what you were going to have for lunch. Then as you work with them in scaffolded silent reading groups, stop the reading every five minutes to talk about what their inner voices were saying when you called time. After spending a week or two with the inner-voice prompt, try the camera prompt. These will be new insights for your students and perhaps even for you as a reader.

McEwan, E.K. (2009). Teach them all to read. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Source
Teach Them ALL to Read