Jennifer Kelley

Not Just Words

 Rationale: Learning to read is a huge accomplishment. Learning to read for comprehension and pleasure is an even bigger accomplishment. In order to read for understanding, a student must be able to read text with emphasis through reading expressively. Therefore, students need to hear the difference between simply reading a sentence and reading it with personality, smoothly, and with different voice inclinations. In this lesson, students will learn how to read aloud with expression through practice, then will be assessed by other students to be sure that they have grasped this concept.

Materials: "Something Good" by Robert Munsch published by Annick Press, class set of photocopied section of story ; five tape recorders, five tape players with headphones, five copies of a selected passage from "The Biggest Nose" by Kathy Caple, an expressive reading evaluation for each student; "My Teacher Sleeps in School" by Leatie Weiss, nametags for characters, Îscriptsâ for each character from story; miniature dry erase boards and marker for each student

Expressive Reading Evaluation:
This story was interesting to me. YES NO
My friend used different voices when he or she read. YES NO
My friend sounded happy and sad in the same story. YES NO
I could tell when an exclamation point was used. YES NO

Procedures: 1. Begin lesson by telling students how proud I am that they can all read so well. I will then let them know that the next step in reading is knowing how to read so that the person listening can be interested in what they are reading. Sometimes when we read, we may just read one word at a time and not understand what we are reading because the words are not connected together in the story. Instead, they are just words that we hear. When you make a face, you are making an expression so that people can tell how you are feeling inside. The same thing needs to happen when you are reading a book so that people will hear what the story you are reading is about through your expressions. Another reading trick is to know when to say one word with a high-pitched voice, when to whisper, or when to just read normally. Today we are going to work very hard on knowing when read in a certain voice. This is called "reading expressively."

2. Tell the students, before you begin to read expressively, you need to know what it sounds like when someone is not reading like this. So, I am going to read you a little bit of the story, "Something Good" about a little girl named Tyya who cannot behave at the grocery store. The first time I read, I am going to read in a very boring way. The next time I read I am going to make the story more interesting to you by saying the words in special words. You need to listen very carefully so that you will know when I am changing my voice. When you hear my voice change, this means that I know what I am reading about, so I know how to use my voice. An exclamation point can also tell me how to use my voice. We all know that an exclamation point is a period with a line above it. This is used when a sentence is meant to sound exciting. Listen carefully to see if you can tell when I see an exclamation point. A question mark tells me to raise my voice a little bit at the end of a sentence because it is asking a question. Remember that a question mark is a period with a squiggle above it. Listen carefully to see if you can tell when I see a question mark. Great listening boys and girls!

3. Since you now know the difference between just reading and reading with expression, I want to see if you can hear expression in my voice. I want everyone to close their eyes and think of a really silly expression to put on their face. Okay, now open your eyes. When I am reading with expression, I want to see twenty silly faces and when I am not reading with expression, I want to see twenty normal faces. (I then read aloud more of "Something Good.")

4. Before you start reading on your own, I want to do one more activity with this fun book. I am going to read five sentences. When you think it ends with a period, I want you to write a period on your board. When you think a sentence ends with an exclamation point, I want you to write that on your board. If it ends with a question mark, write a question mark on your board. This will be very easy because you all know that a period means that I just use my regular voice, an exclamation point means that I am very excited about what I am reading, and a question mark tells me to raise my voice at the end of the sentence. (Read five sentences that I have made up previously.)

5. I am going to put you into pairs so that you can read to one another expressively. This is a perfect way to practice saying the words in different ways. (I hand out a section photocopied of the book "Something Good" to each pair. Even though I have read this already, they will know where to use voice inflections. If a group gets finished early, they may choose another book to practice with. In all, this activity should take twenty minutes to allow plenty of practice time. I will walk around to make sure that students are reading in appropriate, expressive voices.)

6. Now that you know how much better reading words in certain ways sounds, I want you to practice this yourselves. So, we are going to read a story about a teacher who sleeps in school. We are going to read it in a different way because instead of using the words Îhe saidâ or Îshe said,â we are going to just say what the characters say. (Each day four students will take a turn being one of four characters in the story. I will already have these groups predetermined. I will hand out nametags and scripts as the students come to the front of the classroom.) I would like for the four of you to carefully read this story so that we can be excited about what we are hearing. Some of these words may look hard, but remember to cover up the last part of the word and say the first part. Then, carefully uncover the rest of the word and blend together all of the letters. Now you have said the whole word! We do not just want to hear a bunch of words with the same voice. Great job! You made me laugh when I was supposed to and know how each character felt!

7. For assessment, I will have students evaluate one another. Today I have divided you into groups of five to go the listening table. Instead of listening, you are going to record yourselves reading. When you get to the table, there will be a part of the book "The Biggest Nose" for you to read into the tape recorder. You have to be very careful to read with the right voice at the right time because tomorrow someone else is going to listen to your tape. (I allow students to record themselves. The next day they will listen to each otherâs tapes and complete the expressive reading evaluation on how their peer read. This way students will have no room for insult because they can only circle "yes" or "no." Also, the tapes will be shuffled so that hopefully no one will be able to recognize one anothersâ voices. If this creates a problem, the teacher can listen to the tapes and fill out the same checklist to bypass student criticism.) Today you are going to go to the listening center again in groups of five, but this time you will be listening to a tape of one of your friends reading. A checklist will be in front of you to make sure that this person is reading with the right voice at the right time. (I will evaluate each sheet to see if the students were able to grab each otherâs attention through reading expressively.)

References:; Margaret Hollin (2001), second grade teacher at Yates Elementary School in Valrico, Florida

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