Express Effects

Anna Palmer
Growing Independence and Fluency

Rational:  This lesson is designed to teach children to read fluently and more expressively.  Children will become more confident readers when they learn to read with expression.  They will grow to enjoy reading more if they use expression.  We will learn to read with expression in this lesson by using whole text.

Materials:  chalk, chalkboard, one copy of Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendack, enough age-appropriate books for each student in the class (ones that can be read with expression such as Today I Feel Silly by Jamie Lee Curtis or The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein), pencil and paper for each child


1) We will begin the lesson by reviewing cross-checking.  “Remember when you are reading to first try the word and then finish the sentence.  If the sentence does not make sense, go back and reread the sentence and try to make sense of the sentence.”  I will remind them that they can use cover-ups.
2) “ We are going to learn to read with expression. Can someone tell me what they think expression means?”  Talk about the meaning.  “Ok, great! It means that the way we read is very interesting and people want to listen to us.  We could change how loud or soft our voice is, we can change the pitch of our reading, or we could change the pitch in our voice.  Today, we are going to practice using some of these expressions.”
3) “Has anyone ever heard a story that was very exciting because it was read using expressions?”  Talk with the children about how fun it is to hear stories that are read using expression.
4) I will read Where the Wild Things Are aloud to the class without using expression.  Then I will reread a few pages using expression.  “Did you like the way I read the first time or the second time? Good! What made you like the second one better? Yes! My voice made it more enjoyable.”  On the board we will list some of the expressions used in the second reading.  Read “That night in his room a forest grew and grew in his room” in a regular voice and then read it again using a voice to build curiosity.
5) I will put the students in pairs.  Each pair will be given an age-appropriate book to read to one another.  “First, read the book without using expression.  When you finish I want you to make a list of some of the expressions you could use when reading this story.  Now I would like you to reread the book using your expressions.”
6) I will ask each group to take turns coming to the front of the class to read their book using expression.  “Good, that was so interesting! Could you read us the list of expressions you came up with?  Everyone did an excellent job.” Talk with the students and ask them to tell how they felt about the story before and after the expressions were used.  “Did you enjoy the story more when expressions were used? Why?”
7) To assess the students I will ask them to choose a book from the selection of age-appropriate books I will provide.  Then they will read the book on their own and make a list of expressions (as we did earlier).  When they finish, they will be called on to come to the teacher’s desk to read the book using expressions and show the list they made.

Reference:  Marilyn Adams, Beginning to Read; 1990.

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