Let's Express Ourselves!
Growing Independence and Fluency
By Ann Chance

Rationale:  It is significant for students to learn how to read with expression and fluency to become good readers.  For children to grasp a deeper comprehension of reading, they must be able to read expressively.  This lesson will help students read aloud with expression through practice by monitoring their changes in volume, speed, and pitch of their voices.  They will be assessed through reading whole texts with partners in which, their level of expression will be documented.

Materials:  Chalkboard, chalk, pencils, paper, The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR by Don and Audrey Wood, multiple copies of When Sophie Gets Angry-Really, Really Angry…by Molly Bang, checklist for assessment of expression

1. Introduce the lesson by asking students if they have ever listened to a really good storyteller.  "What made her a good storyteller?"  Raise your hand if you remember why.  Reading a story is similar to telling a story.  You use lots of expression in reading.  Can anyone tell me what expression is?  Expression is the feeling and emotions we put into our words.  This helps us to make stories interesting and exciting to our listeners.  We can do this by changing how fast we read, or changing the pitch of our voice to show confusion (ex. "What did you say?"), sadness (ex. "My puppy ran away from home."), or excitement (ex. "I won first prize!").  Today we are going to practice these different ways of expressing our reading.
2. Read and model the book The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR without using any expression.  Pay close attention to my voice.  Was the story exciting or boring?  How can I make it more interesting?  Read the story again using expression.  Did you notice the difference in the two readings?  Which did you think was more interesting?  Why?
3. Review punctuation with children by explaining how punctuation can let us know what kind of expression to use when we read sentences.  Write three sentences on the board.  Read, "Sally ate her lunch."  When I read the sentence that ended in a period, my voice gets lower at the end and it did not have much expression.  Read "Auburn won the football game!" This sentence has an exclamation point so my voice is higher throughout the sentence to show I am excited.  Read, "Do I have to do my homework?"  When I read a sentence that ends with a question mark, my voice goes up at the end to show I am confused.  Have the students read the sentences to a partner using expression and no expression.
4. Pass out copies of When Sophie Gets Angry-Really, Really Angry…to each student.  This book is about Sophie who is having a bad day and gets very angry and runs out of her house to get away.  I want you to read this book silently to yourself first.  Remind them if they have trouble decoding a word that they should cover up part of the word and sound it out and then cover up the other part of the word and sound out what is left.  Then, tell them to say the sounds together, blend it.
5. Divide the students into pairs so each will have a partner.  Using the same book, have one student listen as his partner reads the story.  Have the listener make notes of when he heard examples of good expression.  (Give the children practice first) Then, the partners switch roles.  After, each role the student will talk about his notes and point out good examples of expression the other used.
6. When all the groups are finished, I will have each student choose two sentences from the book to read aloud to the class that show two different expressions.  Tell the students, "I want you to remember to make those changes in your voice."  Wonderful job!
7. For assessment, walk around to each partner team and listen for children reading with expression.  Use a checklist to assess:
Pitch rose and fell             _____
Paces sped up and slowed _____
Volume rose and fell         _____
Phrasing made sense         _____

· Adams, Marilyn. Beginning to Read. 1990.  p.90-92.
· www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/illum/sautergf.html.  "Let's Be Emotion Detectors!"  Elizabeth Sauter
· www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/illum/coblentzgf.html.  "Let's Read with Expression!"  Meredith Coblentz

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For further information, send e-mail to chancoa@auburn.edu