Cassie Grieb
Growing Independency and Fluency

Punctuation to the Rescue

Rationale: To learn to read with expression, students must first be able to accurately decode words in sentences along with recognizing the punctuation mark at the end of the sentence.  This lesson will help students become more familiar with different types of expressions used when reading and how punctuation is important in the way that we read a sentence of a story.  Partner reading provides a positive opportunity for students to talk about what they are reading and express their own interests about the book by reading with enthusiasm and expression.

Materials: sentence strips, markers, multiple copies of From Head to Toe by Eric Carle (Scholastic, 1997), chalkboard, chalk

1. Explain to the class the different types of expressions such as sad, happy, excited, or bored we can use when talking to someone.  Model to the class an expression less monotone voice. “Would any of you like it if I talked like this all the time?  Discuss different voices we use when we have conversations with each other by saying: “We can have different voices when we talk to each other.   If I talked to you in this voice do you think I would be happy or sad (talk in a high voice with lots of excitement)?  Bring to the student’s attention that we can read with different expressions just like when we have conversations with each other.
2. Ask the students to share any punctuation marks that they notice when they read a story.  “What are some marks that you might see at the end of a sentence?”  List their ideas of the chalkboard.  Encourage the students to share their own examples of the different types of punctuation marks.
3. On a sentence strip write Can I play too ask the students what type of punctuation mark would go at the end of the sentence.  Discuss the various ways the mark at the end of the sentence would change the way we say or read the sentence to ourselves.  Show another example such as Come on Encourage the students to use different expressions to say the phrase to the class.
4. Pass out the books From Head to Toe and give the following directions to the class: “Find a partner to read with.  You and your partner are going to read about some animals and what they can do.  I want one partner to read one side of the page and the other partner to read the following page.  Then when you and your partner have finished reading the story I want you to reread the story but this time read the parts your partner read.  So you won’t read the same parts of the story twice”.  Pick a student to help demonstrate the directions to the class each partners parts of the story.  “Remember the expressions we just talked about when reading to your partner.  You don’t want your partner to get bored and fall asleep, you want to keep your partner interested in the book”.  Remind them that they can help each other if they have trouble with a word.  Explain that when they are done reading the book and then rereading it a second time they need to come and get a sentence strip and marker.  Provide students with a sentence strip and allow them to come up with their own sentence using a punctuation mark at the end and have the other partner respond to the sentence made by their partner.  For example one sentence strip would read Hurry up or we’ll be late! The partner could respond by writing Can you just wait for me, please?
After writing their sentences ask for volunteers to share the sentences they created and how they can demonstrate reading with expression to the class.  This part of the lesson allows for the students to be assessed in an authentic way.  Teacher can use a checklist to check off if students have made improvements to read with expression.    Encouraging the students to share their work gives them reading practice and motivates the students to feel confident in their abilities as independent readers.

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