Almost "Silent Reading" Lesson using WhisperPhones

These aren't your mama’s WhisperPhones!
Gone are the days of going to a home improvement store, buying PVC pipe, sawing it apart,  gluing your fingers together, and painting said pipe in order to create your own whisper phones.  Instead, I went to to buy them already made! Plus you can use the code TTTC20 to get 20%off your order.

Here was my experience from the moment I opened the box:

Buddy Reading:  
With the WhisperPhone Duets they can:
1. hear each other clearly
2. read or listen
3. track the text  
4. Be a little spaced out of they both have a copy of the book.

 I think buddy reading can go sideways when the listener cannot hear and engage.  So, buddy reading with the WhisperPhone Duet was a win from moment number one.

I also noticed that the kids can have some space between them with the Duet.   Sometimes a little extra space can keep the tickling and poking to a minimum.  

Small Group Reading Table:
At my table, I have lots of tricks up my sleeve and lots of ways to find out how it’s really going.  

One way to find out “how it’s going” is to conference with a child and ask them what they are reading and if there is anything I can help them with.  These conversations can be much quieter when I use a Duet between myself and the child. 

I know a photo would be perfect here, but it would have to be a selfie... awkward during a a reading conference....

I do have a picture of having them re-reading the guiding reading text. I can listen in and notice the voice of one child and the tracking of another child. 

Another small group strategy to is to listen in on reading.  All the kids are whisper reading their text.  I stagger-start the readers and they know to read/ reread until I say stop. Before the Duet, I would have to lean in and really get into a kid’s space to hear them, now I just hand them the WhisperPhone Duet and we can both be relaxed as I listen to them and do strategy chats. 

I am seriously drooling over the Select WisperPhone for my Guided Reading Table. The virtues of this product are numerous.  
1. All kids can get a WhisperPhone 
2. I can select different kids and listen in without them knowing who I am listening to.  This is not a game of “gotcha”, but I can hear who is struggling, I can hear fluency, and I can hear pace
3. I can even take a running record on a child without the reader knowing. Some kids struggle during a running record because they experience test-stress. There is NO stress.       

Hands-Free Solo WhiperPhone

Look mom…no hands!  I cannot tell you enough how amazing the hands-free WhisperPhone Solos are. 
  1. I like that my students can read naturally with their hands available to track, turn pages, and hold the book.  
  2. They can dig around in their reading box without putting the WhisperPhone down and another friend grabbing it. 
  3. They can read in a dynamic imaginative voice without driving me crazy. 

Do they really work and are they durable? Should I invest?
Yes, YES and Yes.  They function beautifully and kids can hear themselves very clearly. They are also very durable.  Kids and teachers don’t have to live in fear of breaking them.  As with anything I buy and they use, we discuss respect and care, but these are not easily broken even when adjusting them to different sized heads.

Helping kids develop a quiet "dynamic reading" voice which will help with metal images and fluency:
Why I really love WhisperPhones:

Research has shown that the finest literature becomes no more than a tangle of words in the mind of a non-fluent child.

No wonder older kids report that they don’t like to read and reading is boring. If we could listen in on their “reader’s voice” what would we hear? Monotone and choppy reading would be my guess.   

So how do we help our kids become fluent? There are MANY ways to help build fluency, but I want to focus on 2 tricks today.

Model, Model, Model!

Your read aloud time is precious.  

Your reader’s voice is the best model in the classroom.
Your voice is entertaining and inspiring. Your reader’s voice is like a flame and they are moths. Your passion becomes theirs. 

But have you ever thought about reading aloud in a whisper voice to model how they should be reading aloud? 

By modeling this, you are showing them that their face, their voice, and their imagination is creating a dynamic story. Their voice should be going up and down as the punctuation demands. Their reader’s voice should remain dynamic even though it is quiet and eventually silent.  As their voice goes silent we want to be sure that voice is still dynamic in their mind.  

The author of Readers Workshop, Debbie Miller, talks extensively about kids “creating a movie in their mind”. Movies are action-packed, dramatic, and the characters have emotions. The reader who is creating a dynamic movie needs to practice a dynamic voice.  I believe that teachers need to model this. 

Here is how I like to model this:
Reader’s Workshop Mini Lesson with Whisper Phones:
Grab the book Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and bring your class to the carpet.  Explain to them that “Good readers, who enjoy their story, read a fiction book with emotion and drama.  The author and the reader work together to entertain the reader’s imagination”. 

Then say, “Watch me do this”. 

Read the entire book in a true whispered voice, not a stage whisper. If they all stage whisper your room will still be too loud. So model a true whisper. The book is familiar enough and the text large enough that they will be able to follow along.

Once you are done reading, go back and briefly explain what you did saying, “Kids did you hear how as I was reading my voice went up and down? When the pigeon was begging, my voice was too. When He was getting upset, my face showed that same frustration.  Did you also see how it was hard to hear me? I was enjoying the book, creating a movie in my mind, but I wasn’t loud. Now you try.”

Don't jump too fast into silent reading

Let them read out loud in whisper voice or using WhisperPhones. 

I handed out Whisperphones to my louder characters in class and some to kids who wanted to use them because they just love hearing themselves clearly.  Then the class read a fiction book.  I roamed and enjoyed and smiled at their fluency growing before my eyes. The room was quiet enough for me to sight word test one child and do a running record and reading conference with another child.

They came back to the carpet and each read a page of their book to their assigned partner as a form of debrief and checking in.
The hands-free Solo Whisperphones just made this process so much quieter. As a teacher who needs quiet to think, I say a big THANK YOU and AMEN!

Storage Ideas:
These are durable enough for kids to store the WhiperPhone Solos in their reading basket, if you have a class set.  
Since I have 12 , I store them on our plush reading buddies. A basket would also work great. 

I have a hook on my cabinets that hold the Duets.  I just hang the hoses over the big hook and we’re ready for next time!   

Covid: GERMS : OMGoodness

OMG what about COVID?
OK, I have not even returned to campus yet, but the duets will not be used for a while and that makes me sad. The company doe offer filters, but I just will wait a bit. 

The solos are tossed in my sink and sanitized after every use. That has been my policy since day 1. They dry in my sink and in the morning my little girls put them on on the lovies around the room for use that day.  Sounds sexist... the little girls.  None of my boy want to do it. The girls do. 

Discount Code:

Update- Use the code TTTC20 to get a 20% discount off of your order!  

How cool is that!?!