Expression Makes Reading Exciting!
Hannah Williams
Growing Independence and Fluency

Rationale:  Reading with fluency is the ability to recognize words automatically and accurately.  After fluency is achieved one should concentrate on reading with expression to make reading more exciting, especially when the reader has an audience.  In this lesson children will begin to understand that reading with expression makes the story more interesting and is fun.  The students will learn this skill by listening to a passage read aloud in a monotone voice and then again with an expressive voice; also, they will practice reading with expression in pairs.


1. Boys and girls, who likes to read? Who likes to be read to?  Today I am going to read you a few sentences from this book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day. Ready?  The teacher will read a short passage with a monotone voice, but shouldn’t tell the students about expression yet. Ok who likes that book so far?  And how did you like the way I read the sentences? Now let me read the same sentences again.  Now the teacher reads the same sentences again, but with an expressive voice.  Who liked the second reading better?  I read the same sentences.  Well why did you like the second time better?  Students should describe why they enjoyed the second reading better.

2. As good readers we want our audience to enjoy what we are reading and we want to enjoy it too.  Using expression when you read is a great way to make the story interesting to you and to your audience.  Everybody said they liked the second reading I did better. That’s because I used my expressive voice when I was reading.  One way we can do that is to use the voice the character speaking would be talking with. If the character is sad, then we should use a sad voice, but if he is angry we should use an angry voice.

3. Now I am going to read the same sentences again with expression again. I want you to pay attention to my expression and my facial expressions.  The teacher reads the same sentences as before with expression and uses different facial expressions. Who liked that reading?  I liked that one too.  What did you notice about my expressions? The students will give a variety of answers here depending on teacher reading. Did anyone notice my facial expressions?  Yes! I was using my face to show how the character feels.

4. Now the teacher divides the class into pairs and pass out books.  Each pair of students should receive two copies of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day and a Reading with Expression is Fun! Partner Evaluation Sheet.  Now I want each of you to take turns reading this book out loud with expression. But while your partner is reading I want you to fill out the sheet on their expression. Let's go over the sheet.  Number one says, "Does my partner read with good expressions".  Now number two says, "Did my partner make the story interesting for me?."  Number three says "What happened in the story?." Does anyone have any other questions about the sheet or about reading with expression? Ok let's get started being expressive and exciting readers!

5. For assessment teacher has all students return to their normal seats and take out their reading journal.  Now in your reading journal I want you to write about reading with expression. And I want you to tell me what happened in the book we all read today.  If you want to, when you finish writing you can draw a picture from the story or a picture of someone reading with expression.

Reference:  "Boom with Expression!"  by Misty Willoughby.  Spring 2003  "The Tell Tale Students" by Shay Mink.  Spring 2003.

Viorst, Judith & Cruz, Ray. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day. Anthenum Publishing Co. June 1972.

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