Books Have Feelings, Too!


A Model Lesson Design by: Mariel D. Hall
Independence and Fluency

It is significant for students to learn how to read with expression and fluency to become skillful and independent 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 changes in their voices through volume, speed, and pitch.  Students will also 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. Pitch rose and fell.              YES / NO
2. Paces sped up and slowed.  YES / NO
3. Volume rose and fell.          YES / NO
4. Phrasing made sense.          YES / NO


1.  Introduce the lesson by asking students if they have ever listened to a really good storyteller.  What made him/her a good storyteller?  Raise your hand if you remember what.  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 feelings 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 voices to show confusion (e.g. “What did you say?"), sadness (e.g. "My puppy ran away from home."), or excitement (e.g. "I won first prize!").  Today we are going to practice reading expressively with several great books. 

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?  And the way that skillful readers are able to read expressively is through practice with repeated readings.  Suggest going to the school library to pick out books to carry home and practice with. 

3. Review punctuation with the 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 this sentence that ends in a period, my voice gets lower at the end and it does 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 a little girl named 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 by blending. 

5. Divide the students into pairs so each will have a partner.  Using the same book, have one student listen as his/her partner reads the story.  Have the listener make notes of when he/she heard examples of good expression.  (Give the children practice first).  Then, the partners switch roles.  After each role, the student will talk about his/her 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.  Telling the students, I want you to remember to make those changes in your voice. Wonderful job! 

7. For assessment, I will walk around to each partner team and listen for children reading with expression.  Use a checklist to assess. 
Adams, J. Marilyn. (1990). Beginning To Read. Center for the Study of Reading. Urbana, IL. pp. 90-92.


2. Bang, Molly. (1999). When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry… Bluesky Press. New York, NY.

3. Elizabeth Sauter, Let’s Be Emotion Detectors! (2001).  

4. Meredith Coblentz, Let’s Read With Expression! (2001).


5. Wood, Audrey & Don. (1994). The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR. Scholastic Inc. New York, NY. 

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