Growing Independence and Fluency
Rationale: One of the most exciting parts of reading is when the reader becomes involved in the story characters' situations. In order to do this, the readers (students) must read with expression. This means that the students need to fluctuate the tone of their voice and show emotion while they are reading. For this to happen, the students must be reading smoother and more fluently.
· Copy of Help! Hilary Help! By Aaron Shepard (one for each student). Reader's Theater Script.
· Different colored construction paper stapled into a ring
· Poster board with several sentences
· Hat with folded paper to draw characters
1. First I will start by reading a familiar line of a movie script very dull and boring with no expression: "Look,·. Sebastian,·. it's· a ·.whatchamacallit." Then I will ask the students if they recognize that sentence from anywhere. I will tell the students that it is from the movie Little Mermaid if they don't guess. Then I will ask if they would want to watch a movie that sounded like that the whole time. I'll ask if anyone has suggestions on how I can make my sentence sound better so people would want to listen to me. Then I'll say the sentence again using their suggestions: "Look, Sebastian!!! It's a Whatchamacallit!!!" I'll ask the students: "Isn't that what makes movies good? If actors and actresses talked in a boring voice the whole movie you wouldn't watch it. The same goes for books. They aren't any fun to read or listen to if you don't put any expression into them. You need to make the books come to life so you can find the exciting parts about them. Using expression means changing the tone of your voice according to how the words are used in the book, making your voice soft or loud or letting it go up or down".
2. "When you read, think of yourself as an actor or actress and it is your job to make the words on the page take action. You need to look at the punctuation to see how to act. We're going to look at a couple of sentences and practice using expression while we read." (Hold up poster with sentences) "Okay, let's look at the first sentence (read without expression): Wow Bobby! You really did great! How do you think I should read this sentence if I am going to use expression? Right! I should be excited. What tells you that I should act excited when I read this? Exactly... because it has exclamation points. Now let's all read the sentence together with expression. Here's another sentence (read without expression): Where did you find my baseball mitt? How should we read that sentence if we are using expression. Right... we should sound confused or questioning because there is a question mark. Let's all read it together with expression.
3. "Since we are working on fluency, we need to work on reading sentences together and using expression at the same time. Everyone look at these three sentences on the poster board. We are going to read them all together, but before we do look at the words and the punctuation and think to yourself how you are going to read with expression. (Give a minute for them to think) Okay here we go: 'Yea!! My brother came home from college today! Uh oh. I sleep in his room now. Where is he going to sleep?' We'll talk about why we read sentences a certain way and then practice a couple more times.
4. "Today we are going to do what I talked about earlier and actually become actors and actresses. We are going to make the words we read jump to life. Has anyone ever heard of reader's theater? Well that's what we are doing today. It's like a play but you get to keep your script, or copy of the play, while you read so you don't have to memorize the words. Everyone will have a part and we are going to make a small part of the costume and practice and perform. The story is called Help! Hilary! Help! and it is about a girl named Hilary who has to keep helping her mom get out of all kinds of trouble. I'm going to come around with a hat and everyone needs to take only one piece of paper and that will tell you who your character or narrator is. Does anyone know what a narrator is? Right... he or she gives all the background information for the story that we can't see."
5. "Now that you have your characters, we are going to make hats so we know who each person is and so we can be in costume while we are acting. (Pass out construction paper that is stapled in rings that will fit on students' heads) Now you need to write the name of your character on the hat or write which narrator you are. Then you can decorate it however you want."
6. "Before we actually perform, we are just going to practice reading the script a couple of times and using expression when we read. Everyone needs to pay attention so you'll know when it is your turn to read. Also you need to make sure you use expression... sound excited if there is an exclamation point, and so on. We will practice three times just reading, then we'll stand up and act it out a couple of times. If we use tons of expression, we can perform for another class."
Assessment: As the students read their parts for reader's theater, I will put checks in the boxes for each student: varies tone of voice, shows emotion with facial movement, understands that punctuation is guide for what kind of expression to use. If I need to hear more from a couple of students, I will ask them to come say a couple of lines for me using expression.
References: Thomas, Brandy. "Lights, Camera, Action!"
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