Literacy Design #3: Growing Independence and Fluency

birthday

Yay! It’s my birthday!
by: Noelle Jones

Rationale: Fluency is a vital skill for students to master in order to become successful readers. Fluency has a few key components: reading quickly (quicker than beginning readers), reading with accuracy and automaticity, ability to read silently, voluntarily reading, reading smoothly, and reading with expression. This lesson will focus on reading with expression. Expressive reading is a very significant part of fluency and makes the language of a book come alive to the reader because it actually sounds how we would speak it in everyday conversations. The students will learn to use expression in their reading by listening for expression in a text, practicing how to use expression in sentences while in small groups, and by practicing using expression in a reader’s theater.

Materials:

          -The Birthday Cake book (a play) by Joy Cowley

          -Sentence strips with the following sentences: “Me-ow. Let me have some, too. Mmmmm. It is good.”, “Here! Out of the way, Pig. I want a big bite, too.”, “The farmer won’t have a birthday cake now.”

          -Dry erase board/white board and markers to write punctuated sentences on

          -Stu's Tune by Educational Insights and an assessment checklist with the following questions:
___Did the student change his/her voice from high to low when needed?
___Did the student change his/her voice from loud to soft when needed?
___Did the student recognize the punctuation mark present at the end of each sentence and read it accordingly?
___Did the student consistently read with expression throughout the story?
___Did the student respond well to peer or teacher suggestions when reading?

 

Procedures: *TTW= the teacher will

1. First, TTW explain to the students that we will learn more and practice reading with expression today. Then, TTW tell students that when we read with expression books come alive and sound like actual language and how we would talk in everyday conversations. TTW also tell them that when we read with expression, we don't just read the words but think of how we would say them if we were that character. We wouldn't say our words without any emotion, and neither would our characters. If they are happy, sad, excited, scared, or angry, then we need to express those emotions to the audience we are reading to. We can express the emotions of our characters by making our voice higher, lower, softer, or louder. TTW tell the students that we will practice listening for expression with the short play The Birthday Cake, by Joy Cowley.

          2. Next, TTW ask the students to listen for my use of expression as I read The Birthday Cake. Before we read the whole book, we will work through the first page together. TTW read a sentence at a time and verbally discuss how he/she knows if it was read with expression or not. The teacher might say, "It was a very good day" very flatly. Then the teacher would say to the class, "That was kind of dull and just sounded like the words. Let’s see if I can do better with my expression. I need to focus on what I'm reading and think about how the character would be feeling. Then TTW put an emphasis on the words that show the expression of what is being said in the sentence". Next, TTW read, "It was a very good day" with expression and say to the class, "That was much more emotional and showed how I felt, huh? It had much more expression than the first time I read it". TTW then explain to the students, "When you hear me use expression in the story, I want you to show me a thumbs up. If you think I am reading without emotion and just saying the words, show me a thumbs down". As the teacher reads the story to the students, she will make sure to change how she is reading throughout the story by reading with expression and without expression. This means that the students will have to pay attention and really listen to know whether to give a thumbs up or thumbs down if expression was/ was not used.

          3. After the story is read TTW ask the students, "How did you know when I was reading with expression? Can you show me an example sentence in the book where I used expression and say it how I did? How did you know when I didn't use expression? Can you show me an example sentence in the book where I didn't use expression and say it how I did? What can you hear in the two sentences we have just read that are different?"

          4. TTW say to students, "Now that you have heard the difference in my use of expression while reading, I want to show you me how to read sentences with and without expression to show the class the difference. I will do one first and then you will do them in pairs". TTW hold the sentence strip with "Me-ow. Let me have some, too. Mmmmm.  It is good!" to the class. TTW first read it plainly without expression, "I don't want to go to school today". TTW say, "Was that read with or without expression? (Wait for student response) Good! It was read without expression. Now let's see if I can read it with expression! "Me-ow. Let me have some, too. Mmmmm. It is good!" That time I stressed important words and showed the character's emotion". TTW then ask for volunteers in pairs of two to come to the front of the class. TTW give each pair one sentence strip one of the following sentences on it: “Me-ow. Let me have some, too. Mmmmm. It is good.”, “Here! Out of the way, Pig. I want a big bite, too.”, “The farmer won’t have a birthday cake now.” Each pair will read their sentence to the class. One of them will read the sentence with no expression and the other will read the sentence with expression. After each pair reads their sentence both ways, the class will talk about which student read with expression, which didn't, and the difference in how the sentences were read.

          5. TTW then ask students, "How do punctuation marks change how we read a sentence with expression? If a sentence ends in a question mark, we would say it differently than if it ended in a period, right? For example (writing on the board) if I asked, "What did you eat for breakfast today?" I would say that differently than if it ended in a period like "I ate toast for breakfast today." Or if the same sentence, "I ate toast for breakfast today" ended in an exclamation point, I would say it differently. I would then say "I ate toast for breakfast today!" Do you think the person who said the sentence that ended with a period or with an exclamation point was excited about having toast for breakfast? How can you tell?" Then TTW ask, "Can any of you think of how punctuation changes the way you read or say things?" Wait for student examples. If none are provided, then give a few more examples and then discuss them.

          6. TTW say to students: "Now that we have listened for expression in sentences, shown how the same sentences could be read with and without expression, and how punctuation marks effect expression, we are going to read individually and practice with partners using expression." I will give each student a copy of The Birthday Cake. I will give the following booktalk, This is a play about four friends: Cow, Dog, Pig, and Cat. One day they all see a giant, yummy birthday cake on the farmer’s kitchen table for his birthday party. They all want to taste the cake so bad because it looks so tasty, so they each decide to take a little bite. Now that they have all taken a piece of the cake, will the farmer have any birthday cake left over for his party?

          7. TTW then tell students to read The Birthday Cake silently until she says to stop. If they finish it before stop, they may go back and read it again. When the teacher says stop, she will put them in pairs. With their partner, they will alternate reading the pages aloud to one another. TTW walk around and use the following checklist to assess the students' use of expression when reading:
___Did the student change his/her voice from high to low when needed?
___Did the student change his/her voice from loud to soft when needed?
___Did the student recognize the punctuation mark present at the end of each sentence and read it accordingly?
___Did the student consistently read with expression throughout the story?
___Did the student respond well to peer or teacher suggestions when reading?

          8. After students have read and rehearsed their lines in pairs, they will be placed in groups of four and assigned a role (Dog, Cat, Cow, or Pig) for a reader’s theater production in our classroom. Once in groups of four, students will practice reading their lines within their groups and make sure they’re reading with expression.

          9. Students will then perform their reader’s theater with props.

 

Resources: Adapted Maggie Saye’s lesson plan Express Yourself! From the Reading Genie website. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/odysseys/sayegf.html

 

Return to Awakenings Page