Acting Lessons


Growing Independence and Fluency

April Grimmett


Rationale:  In order for students to read fluently they must learn to read words accurately and automatically; however, once they have learned this they must learn to read at a fast pace.  Next, they begin learning to read with expression.  When students are able to read quickly and with expression they are able to gain better reading comprehension and enjoy reading more.  In order for students to be able to reach this reading goal, they must have examples of both the appropriate and inappropriate ways to read aloud.  They must also have a considerable amount of practice. 

 *List of pseudo words to write on board (inteakness, rebenderable, undeanful, raincrab, pregatted
*Tape recording of teacher reading sentences with and without expression (Sarah was so excited when she found out that they were getting a new puppy.  Bobby was very angry when Mark took his toy away.  I can hardly wait until it is finally time for us to go to the circus.  I woke up this morning and saw that it was going to be a wonderful day.  Sarah shouted, "Anna, will you please come here!" ) 
*worksheet with these sentences typed out ,  Class set of The Real Seal, 

1. "Today we are going to learn a way that we can make reading even more fun and exciting! We are going to learn to read in a way that sounds exactly like it would if we were just saying the words ourselves. First we are going to do some reviewing."  Review with the students how to blend the sounds in words.  "We are going to play our mystery word game.  Remember when we played the game where I wrote an silly word on the board and you had to try and read this fake word."  Write a pseudoword on the board such as inteakness .  The first student to raise their hand gets to read the word aloud.  Then have the student explain the strategy that they used to read the unfamiliar word. "We read this word by separating it into chunks that we were familiar with.  First in, then we could decode teak, then we recognized ness  , and we put those together to read inteakness." 

2. Read a sentence aloud to the students with absolutely no expression and at a very slow pace.  "Did I read that sentence in a way that really did sound like I would if I were just talking to you?  No, I didnât did I!  When we talk to each other, we speak with expression, and that is exactly what we need to do when we are reading too!  We have to read stories as if we were really in them.  If the character is sad, then we sound sad.  If they are happy, then we should sound happy. When you watch a movie do the actors talk like I did?  No, they read their lines with expression.  Reading aloud is  a lot like acting.   Let me try to read that sentence again with a little more expression."  (Read the same sentence again but with wonderful expression) 

3. "Today, we are going to have acting class!  We will practice reading aloud to each other as if we were real actors, so we will have to read with great expression!  You are going to read aloud to your partner as expressively as you can.  Remember that you are trying to be a wonderful actor or actress.  You can use your voice or your facial expression as you read. In order to be able to read as quickly as we talk, we have to do a lot of practicing."   Students will pair up and read A Real Seal to one another as I walk around and observe. 

4. Assessment will be done in the form of centers.  Students will go to one center where there will be a tape recording of me reading some sentence with and without expression.  The sentences will be typed up on worksheets where the students will have to describe each sentence according to if I did or did not read them with good expression.  Next, they will move to a center where they will read sentences from The Real Seal  book aloud to me with expression. I will evaluate their reading according to their ease and fluency (how quickly they can read it).  I will also evaluate them according to the expression that they use as they read.  Their tone of voice should match the mood of the sentence that they are reading. 


A Real Seal  by Karen Harrington, Steck-Vaughn Company, 1991. 

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