Where The Wild Things Are!

                                                                  Growing Independence and Fluency

                                                                                  Mitzi Milam


The more children are exposed to enriched literacy they come to understand that simply decoding the words within the story is not enough to make the story interesting.  While reading aloud students see how reading with expression keeps the audiences attention and makes the story seem more realistic.  This lesson has activities that show children how changing the speed and volume of your voice can affect the outcome of a read aloud.


- a copy of Where The Wild Things Are for the teacher
- several copies (enough for the children to be paired up) of Where The Wild Things Are
- enough copies for each child in the classroom to have one of the sheets used for assessment at the end of the activity


1) Introduce the lesson by talking about using expression while reading a story.  " Do you know that when you read a story out loud there is a way to make everyone in the room listen and be excited about what will happen next in the story?  We can do this by using expression in our voices.  Can someone raise their hand and tell me what the word expression means?  (responses from children) Good job thatís right expression is when we either make our voices loud or soft and when we read either fast or slow.  Today we are going to do some fun activities to practice reading books with expression. Letís get started!"

2) " Do you remember listening to someone read a story to you and you could hardly wait to know what would happen next?  If you do remember a time like this try and think back to what the reader was doing that made the story seem so interesting.  Whether or not you realized it the storyteller was probably reading the story with expression.  Listen to me as I read this page of text. (demonstrate reading slowly and at a soft tone) Or I can read the text like this. (demonstrate reading fast and at a loud/high tone) These are two very different ways to read a story and depending on the text both can be used to make people want to listen to you as you read a story.
3) " O.K. I am going to read a few pages out of the book Where The Wild Things Are.  When I finish reading a page I want you to either stand up and show your terrible claws (demonstrate so the children will have an idea of what you mean) if I read with loud or soft expression or freeze in your place if I read a page with no expression. "  Read a page with a monotone voice and then wait for childrenís response. (children should freeze in place)  Ask the children if they think they would enjoy the whole book if you read it that way.  (allow children to respond and tell exactly what they think)  Read the next page with loud enthusiastic expression.  (children should stand up and show their terrible claws, a good idea would be to read the page of the book that says, Öthey roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws.  Discuss with the children how readings either loud or soft are both forms of expression, but it depends on what is happening in the story.

4) Have several copies of Where The Wild Things Are to pass out to the class.   Divide the class into groups of either 2 or 4 and have them take turns reading a page of the book with expression.  Each child will have a simply designed sheet that entails a section for speed and volume.  As the otherís partner read aloud they will take notes and give suggestions for improvement to their partner.

5) For assessment, each pair can meet with the teacher to read a page of their choice to the teacher.  The teacher can them give a positive critique of what could be improved and what they did a great job on as they read. (create a checklist for documented assessment)


Sendak, Maurice.  Where The Wild Things Are. Scholastic Inc., 1963.

Click here to return to Challenges