“Express Yourself!”

Growing Independence and Fluency Design

Elizabeth Sherman


Rationale: Rationale: This lesson is geared toward second grade readers who are able to decode words accurately, but they are still slow and strategic. The goal of this lesson is fluency. Students will be taught the importance of automatic word recognition.  Review with students the importance of the steps used to decode, crosscheck, and then reread the sentence with the challenging word at the beginning of the lesson. This lesson, “Express Yourself,” uses the book, “Iggy Pig’s Big Bad Wolf Trouble” by Vivian French. Students will learn how to read expressively as an indicator of fluency through the method of repeated readings. Students will reread the same text, “Iggy Pig’s Big Bad Wolf Trouble” by Vivian French four times. This repeated reading of the text will help students make words that they decode into sight words. If a student is able to spend less time decoding a word they will have more time to focus on reading with expression as well as comprehension. To read expressively, students will also learn the signals of punctuation for voice changes. Finally, students will demonstrate expressive reading through participating in a reader’s theatre.


Materials: For this lesson it is necessary to have cover-up critters for students to use to help decode words, enough copies of “Iggy Pig’s Big Bad Wolf Trouble” by Vivian French for all the students and teacher, enough copies of repeated reading check sheets, room for students to perform a reader’s theatre, three signs with an exclamation mark, period, and a question mark, also three example sentences using a exclamation mark, period, and a question mark, and if the teacher sees fit, or available props to help students get into character for the reader’s theatre.




 1. Say: “Good morning students!” Today we are going to learn about fluency and reading with expression. Before we start though I want to review with you what to do if you come to a word that is hard for you to read. First, you want to use your cover-up critter to cover up part of the word to make it easier to sound out and decode. Then crosscheck by reading the whole word with the rest of the sentence to see if it makes sense. Finally, you want to reread the whole sentence. I want you all to be fluent readers! Fluent readers are able to read effortlessly and don’t have to stop to decode words as much. One way we can all become fluent readers is by rereading. When you read something a few times, you know the word when you see it again and it’s easier to understand ideas. You will start to remember words that once slowed you down after rereading something. This will make you more fluent. Fluent readers read with expression. Today in class we will be rereading and learning how to read with expression.”


2. Say: “Today we are going to be reading Iggy Pig’s Big Bad Wolf Trouble” by Vivian French. In this story Iggy Pig wants to throw a party and starts inviting all his friends. Someone shows up at the party who is big and gray and kind of scary! The big gray animal looks hungry. What will happen at Iggy Pig’s party? Let’s all read aloud together to find out what happens at Iggy Pig’s Party.”


3. “You all did a great job reading aloud. I want to show you all how to read with expression. There are some clues at the end of sentences that help as know how to read. These clues are a period, a question mark, and an exclamation mark (Hold up poster with the punctuation marks and point to each as you talk). Alright, here are some sentences from our book on the board that have these clues at the end of them. The sentence, “Behind the bush was a big gray animal with a long bushy tail.” has a period at the end of it. The period tells me to pause before reading the next sentence. The sentence “Are you going to invite me to your party, Iggy Pig?” has a question mark at the end. Did you notice how when I read that sentence the pitch of my voice went up at the end of the sentence? When you read a sentence with a question mark at the end your voice should go up a little. The sentence “Of course you can come to my party!” has an exclamation mark at the end of the sentence. Did you hear how my voice got louder and higher when I read that sentence? When you see a sentence with an exclamation mark (Point to it on poster) you know to make your voice louder and more excited.”


4. Say: “Now I am going to put you all in groups of two. I want you to reread Iggy Pig’s Big Bad Wolf Trouble”, but this time read with expression like I did. I am passing out a check sheet for you and your partner to complete. Your partner will reread the story out loud to you. While your partner reads, complete the worksheet. Then you and your partner will switch and you will read aloud while they fill out the repeated reading check sheet on you. The check sheet will be checking whether or not you remembered more words, read faster, read smoother, and read with expression. You will do this three times with your partner in order to complete the sheet”


5. Say: “Alright class, you all did a great job of working together. I heard a lot of people reading with expression. I loved hearing all your voices change, you get louder when you saw an exclamation mark and paused when you saw a period at the end of the sentence. I am passing out now a sheet with questions about Iggy Pig’s Big Bad Wolf Trouble”. I want you all to spend some time thinking about the questions and then writing your answer.”


6. Say: “I’m going to collect the worksheets as well as you and your partner’s repeated reading check lists now. We learned about how to read with expression today. I am going to place you in groups and assign you all a character from Iggy Pig’s Big Bad Wolf Trouble”.  We are going to put on a play of the story, tomorrow in class! But today we are going to read through the story and have a dress rehearsal. I have a couple of props to help you pretend you are your character.”


7. Say: “ I am so impressed with how well everyone read expressively and worked together. I want you all to go home tonight and practice reading aloud expressively your part of the story. Tomorrow we will put on our play. Also feel free to invite your family members to come watch you perform tomorrow if you would like.”



 In order to assess students’ learning, review and grade the students’ responses to comprehension questions and partner assessments of the repeated reading checklists from the three paired readings.

Sample Questions: What was Iggy Pig’s problem with the wolf? What did Iggy Pig and his friends do at his party?



My brain.


Bell, Jana. “Hop on the Expression Express”.  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/passages/bellgf.html


French, Vivian. Iggy Pig's Bad Wolf Trouble. N.p.: Scholastic, 2003. Print.




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