Make Your Stories Come Alive with Expression!

Margaret L. Pettey

Excited_and_scared.gif - (4K)


Rationale:  Reading expression is one of the four factors needed to become a more fluent reader.  This lesson emphasizes the importance of reading expressively and it shows how changes in voice can show different kinds of expression. 



Book: No David! (big book)

Variety of primary books for the class to choose from (examples:  “Mighty      Spiders” , “What is Blue?”


Chalkboard a/o whiteboard

Book:  David Goes to School

Checklist:  including –read smoother, -read with proper expression, -took note to certain punctuation marks, etc.



  1. “Today class we are going to learn how to make our stories come alive with expression!  This just means that sometimes we like to read certain stories with a different tone of voice.  Sometimes we read very loudly because we are excited! Or very softly because we are scared or sad….”
  2. Write a few sentences on the board, could include:  Get out!, I am sick., Reading is so fun!...  Read the first sentence to model how to read expressively.  “Because there is an exclamation point, you need to raise your voice to show that you are angry or upset” Also, stress that when you are reading a book with expression, it is very important to reread if you come to a word you don’t know in the sentence.  Story expression will sound best if you are fluent with your reading.
  3. Let the class read the next few sentences using expression if needed.  After reading, come to the carpet to read No David!  As a class.  “I want everyone to really listen to how my voice changes with each new sentence.  Reading with expression will be your stories come alive!”
  4. After reading together, have the children pick a story they would like to go back to their seats and read. Children will have the opportunity to read for 5-7 minutes.  “I want everyone to really practice using expression while reading your book.  When you come to a sentence that you read with great expression, write it down so you can share with the class.” Students will share their sentences with the class, while reading with their best expression.
  5. For assessment I will have each child read to me individually David Goes to School.  I will be taking notes on whether not they have mastered using expression while reading.  I will have them read three times to see if their expression improves using a checklist as they read.



Reference:  “David Goes to School” (1999) and  “No David!”  (1999)  Blue Sky Press.  David Shannon.


Reading Genie Website:  Dr. Bruce Murray.

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