Expressions, Expressions!!!

Leah Brown
Growing Independence and Fluency

Rationale:  For children to be successful at reading and enjoy it they need to be able to read smoothly and fluently with expression.  There are four factors that need to be mastered in order to read fluently they are reading smoothly, reading silently, reading expressively, and speed reading.  By teaching children to read with expression it will make reading more enjoyable for them.  The goal of this lesson is to give children practice reading expressively. 

Materials: chalk, crayons, 4 pieces of white paper per student, pencils, paper, selected children’s literature (decodable) The Roller Coaster Ride by Les Howard, Mick and Max by Sue Van Heurck, Visiting Grandma and Grandpa by Beverly Huffman and Colleen Griffiths (all published by Steck Vaughn Company) and No More Water in the Tub by: Tedd Arnold 

1. Begin the lesson by talking to students using a monotone voice.  Using the monotone voice say “Hello class today we are going to learn to read expressively.”  Then reply, “If I sounded like this all day you would think I was a very boring teacher.  Has anyone ever noticed how we use our voices to sound the way we feel?  Sometimes we are happy, sad, excited or angry and we use our expression in our voices to make people aware of how we are feeling.  In some expressions we even change the tone of our voices such as get louder, softer or sometimes to sound sad or whiney.  When authors write stories they want their characters to have expression just as we do.  Today we are going to practice reading with expression.”
2. Using this sentence we are going to practice reading with expression.(write it on board)  “Oh my, look what happened to Joe!”  Now let’s practice reading this sentence with expression. (model reading the sentence using expression) Call on different students to read the sentence with different expressions such as excited, sad or amazed.  Good Job!!  What were some of the different expressions we used?  Good, we used sad and excited.
3. Now I am going to give each of you four pieces of paper and crayons and I want you to draw a different expression on each card.  Here are some expressions you might want to use: excited, angry, sad, and happy.  We are going to use these cards when we read our book.
4. Using the book, No More Water in the Tub by: Tedd Arnold, model reading expressively aloud to the class.  Use a book talk to do the modeling.  The book talk could be as follows: “This story is about a little boy who is getting ready for bed.  He is given only one minute to fill the tub with water.  His brother comes up with a great idea of turning the handle all the way on so more water will run out in a minutes time.  He turns it and turns it and turns it…..until, it comes all the way off! To find out what happens to William and the overflowing tub you will have to read the book.”  Then share with the students one of your favorite passages from the book.  “I would like to share with you one of my favorite passages.  Downstairs, Uncle Nash stepped into the hall to take out the garbage.  He felt a drop of water and looked up.  There was William in the bathtub, plunging down a waterfall where the staircase used to be!”  Hold up one of your expressions that you drew and tell me what feeling you think the author wanted this part of the story to have.  Good job, amazed or shocked.  Those are all good examples.
5. Now I will put each of you into groups of two and give you and your partner a book to read.  Each person should take turns reading.  You should read two pages and then let your partner read.  Remember if you come to a word you don’t know use cover up to help you figure out the word.  To do a cover up we move our hand over the word except for the first one or two letters then move your hand left to right blending the letters to help you arrive at the word. With this book I want you first to read the book using no expression.  After reading the book think about ways that you could make the book more enjoyable by using expressions.  I want each of you to make a list of the expressions that you feel might make the story more enjoyable.  Then I want each of you to reread the book with your partner using the expressions.  After rereading, go through the book and each one pick out a favorite sentence in the book just as I did for the book No More Water in the Tub.  We are going to share these sentences with the class.
6. For assessment each student from each group will come to the front of the room and share their favorite passages from their book and read them with expression.  Then the class will hold up their expression drawings to vote on which expression or expressions the students were using.  The teacher should take notes of the students who are having difficulty with this concept and help them individually after the lesson.  Good Job class!! 

Reference:  Amy Spurlock, Express Your Reading; Reading Genie website, Murray, Bruce (ed) 2001 

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