Nancy Williams
Growing Independence and Fluency

Expressing Your Reading!

Rationale:  When students become more fluent readers they should learn
to read with expression. This should be done when reading silently and
aloud.  This lesson is designed to help students read with expression to
better understand the text.  Reading fluently includes reading smoothly, reading expressively, reading silently, and speed-reading. This will be achieved by practicing with short sentences and reading whole text.   The children will become aware of how changing the loudness/softness of your voice affects reading.

Materials: Chart paper, one copy of The Three Little Pigs, enough age-appropriate decodable books for each student in the class to have (they must be books that can be read with expression.), (Dr. Seuss has good books available to be read with expression, but you may want to choose something a little shorter for them to read in their partner groups), sentence strips with a variety of sentences that can be read with many different types of expression like, Why do you think the sky is blue or He opened the closet door and BOO!!! , tape or something to sick the sentence strips on the chart with, age appropriate paper and writing utensils.

1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that a story is much more fun to read and listen to when it is read with expression.  Explain to the students what reading with expression means.  To read with expression we need to know what a sentence ends with.  Sentences can end in periods, exclamation points, and question marks. Start lesson by explaining to the children that it is a wonderful thing that we can all read books.  But, that there are some things we can do to become better readers.  ãOne thing we can do while reading is to read with expression.ä  ãCan anyone tell me what expression means?ä  ãThat is right, it means making the way we read more interesting for the people who are listening to us.ä  ãSome ways of expressing our reading voice is changing how loud or soft our voice is, changing how fast we read or changing the pitch of our voice.ä  ãToday we are going to practice these different ways of expressing our reading.ä
2. Review sentence structure.  This includes beginning a sentence with a
capital letter and reading left to right, and top to bottom.  Also review
crosschecking.  Say:  Remember to first try the word, then finish the
sentence, then go back if a word doesnât­t make sense.  Remind the
students that reading must always make sense. Explain that reading with expression also helps to make stories more sensible also.  Ask the students: ãHas anyone ever heard someone read a story that was really exciting because of their expressive voice?ä  Explain to the children that the reader may have made the story exciting because of the different reading expressions they used such as a voice change or how fast or slow the reader read the story.
3. Give each student a sentence strip.  The teacher should have a strip
with an example of each type of sentence.  (Who are you?  This is fun!  My name is Kate.)  Model how to read each one to the class.  Say:  When we see a question mark at the end of a sentence, our voice goes up after the last word (read the first sentence).  When we see an exclamation point at the end, we make our voice sound excited and happy all the way through (Read sentence two).  When a sentence ends with a period our voice goes down at the end) Read third sentence).  Have each child read their own sentence strip aloud to the class.  This is an opportunity to make sure students understand the lesson.  Hearing their classmates read will also reinforce expression.
4. Then take out a book such as The Three Little Pigs and model reading to the children without using expression and tell the children to pay attention to how it sounds.  ãDid the story sound exciting?ä  (Children respond) ãHow can I make it more exciting?ä  Make a list on the board with the children.  Let them tell the teacher what expression you can make and where in the story to make it. When you are done making the list, reread The Three Little Pigs.  When rereading the book model how to use the expressions on the board.  When done rereading ask the children which version of the story sounded better, the first time with no expression, or the second time with all the expressions they said to use.
5. When done rereading The Three Little Pigs group the children in twoâs.  ãWhen I put you with a partner I will give you a book.ä  Give each group a different age appropriate book so that each group is not reading the same book.  ãI want each person to read the book that I gave you to your partner without using expression.ä  ãRemember if you have trouble reading it you can use cover-ups to figure out the word you do not know.ä  ãWhen you are done reading the book I want you and your partner to make a list on a sheet of paper of the different expressions you can make and where you can make them in the story, just as we did on the board.ä  When the children are done making the list they then reread the book using the expressions they have on the list.
6. While sitting with partners, have the kids read Yo! Yes? or any age
appropriate book with lots of varying punctuation.  Have the kids
crosscheck their reading and make sure that they are reading with
expression. Give a book talk along with introducing the book. Say: This book is about two kids who are trying to communicate with each
other, letâs see if they become friends.  When they are done have each group come to the front of the class and read their book using expression.  ãEveryone needs to sit quietly to see if you can hear the expressions your classmate is making while reading their book.ä  When they are done reading they should show the class the list of reading expressions they made.  ãYou all did a wonderful job using reading expressions to make your story more exciting.ä
7. When the class has finished these activities, for assessment have a shelf of age appropriate books that each child can read.  Have each child get a book of their choice that they want to read.  Tell them to read it and make their own list of expressions (just like we did earlier.)  When they are done have different children come up to your desk at different times of the day to read their book using the expressions on their list.  If the child needs help then the teacher can help him/her.  By doing this the teacher can determine if each child is understanding the reading expression lesson.
8. Finally, have students write their own summary question or
exclamation to summarize the story.

  Adams, Marilyn Yager.  Beginning to Read:  Thinking and learning about
print.   c 1990.
  Designs:  Science and Creativity in Reading Instruction, Spring
1999,Edited by Dr. Bruce Murray.   Really Read It!  Katy Jurgensen, p.58.
Raschka, Chris. Yo! Yes?, 1993,Orchard Books, New York.

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