Make A Face

Emmie Wayland
Growing Independence and Fluency

Rationale:  There are five components to fluency: reading faster, reading smoother, reading more expressively, reading silently, and reading voluntarily.  Therefore, in order for children to become fluent readers, they must learn to read expressively.  This lesson is intended to show children what expressive reading is, and to help them become expressive readers themselves so that they can move one step closer to fluency.

Materials:  A copy of Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, a card with a face on it for each student, writing paper, pencils, chart paper with a marker, or blackboard with chalk/markers.

Procedure:  (I will draw a question mark, exclamation point, and a period on the board.) Today, we are going to discuss how to say a sentence when each of these endings are on the sentences.  These endings are called 'punctuation marks' and they signal what expression we are to use when we read the sentence.  (I will write the sentence, "You have a dog?" on the board.)  Let's say this sentence together and remember how we should say it when it ends in a question mark.  Great.  (Change ending to exclamation point.)  Okay, now we are going to say the same sentence, but this time it ends in an exclamation point, so we are going to say it like we should because it ends in an exclamation point.  Perfect.  (Change sentence ending to a period.)  Now let's say the sentence one last time, but this time it ends in a period, so we need to say it like a statement.  That was right.  When we read stories, the sentences end in different punctuation, so we have to consider this punctuation as we are reading so that the story sounds more exciting.  When we read a story like every sentence ends in a period, then we are reading without expression, and the story does not sound very exciting.  For this reason, authors put different endings on their sentences so we know to read them with a different expression.
 Now that we have discussed punctuation, and how it makes the reader have a different expression, I am going to read some sentences and I want all of you to judge what punctuation is found at the end of my sentence.  If you think the sentence is boring and I have very little expression, then you know it ends in a period, and you stay in your seat.  If you think that I have a very excited or surprised expression, then you know that the sentence ends in an exclamation point, so I want you to stand up.  If my expression is one of confusion, or a question, then the sentence I read ends in a question mark, so you stand up and hold your hands to your sides and up like you are asking a question.  Let's begin.  (Sentences:  Are you in my class?  Today's my birthday!  I am doing my homework.  Do you want a snack?  My favorite food is pizza.  I got a new car!  Will you help me finish this?)
 Okay, that was great!  Now I want you all to come sit on the floor with me and I am going to read you a book.  First, I am going to read it without any expression, ignoring the punctuation at the end of the sentence, and not changing my voice at all.  I want you all to hear how boring a book is when you read without expression.  (Read Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse).  Now, I am going to read the book again, and look at all the punctuation and read with expression.  (Read again, this time with expression!)  That sounded a lot more interesting, didn't it?  Expression is what makes reading exciting!  We all want to sound exciting when we read, so we should pay attention to these punctuation marks so that we can learn to read with expression.
 Now, I am going to give everyone a picture.  On each picture is a person with an expression on his or her face.  I want you to take your picture and write a short story about the person in your picture and remember to include punctuation marks so that your story has expression just like the person in your picture.
 Since everyone has finished their story, we are now going to exchange stories and read about the person in your pictures.  I want everyone to hide their picture inside their desk.  Now, I have paired each of you up with a person who does not sit near you, and in just a minute, I am going to tell you the partners and when I ask you to, I want everyone to take his or her story and sit somewhere in the room and read your story to your partner.  After you have both read your stories, I want you to guess what expression your partnerís picture had on his or her face.  For example, the person in the picture could have been frowning, laughing, crying, etc.  When you have both guessed, you can go get your pictures and show the other person.  (Read list of partners- they exchange stories)

Conclusion:  Thanks, now if you just loved your short story or the one that your partner wrote, bring those stories to me please.  I am going to randomly select three and then ask their authors to come up and read them to the class.  We will see if the entire class can figure out what expression the picture had on its face.  In order to assess the stories, I will ask the students to staple the picture to their story, and then I will read through them to make sure that they contain punctuation, and that the story itself is somewhat relevant to the picture.

References: (the Reading Genie website)
           From the above website, I looked at the following plans:
           "Using Expression" by Laura Pope
           "Expression Experts" by Jenny Earnest
           "Letís be Eager to Express" by Aimee Maner
           "Expressions are Everywhere" by Kristin Rice
           Henkes, Kevin.  Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse.  Greenwillow Books, NY, 1996.

click here to return to challenges