Reading with Expression

Growing Independence & Fluency Design

Kaylee Bess


Rational: Fluency is being able to recognize words accurately, rapidly, and automatically. There are five results of fluent reading, which include reading faster, with expression, smoothly, silently to one's self at times, and being able to read voluntarily. This usually does not come easily for beginning readers. In this lesson the children will work on the component of reading with expression as a step to becoming a fluent reader.



Copy of sentences for teacher to read as an example


Copy (teacher reads) of sentences for students to see

I am going to the store.

I am going to the store with my mom, my dad, and my little brother.

Can you please pick up some milk?

Look! He is finally here!

Check list for the assessment (one for each student)

1.  Does the student's voice level change from high to low?

2.  Does the student change the inflection in his or her voice according to the punctuation marks?

3.  Is there a distinct difference when the child reads with expression rather than no expression?


Copy of reader's theater

          Reader 1- You did it.

          Reader 2- You did?

          Reader 1- Yes, I did.

          Reader 2- How did you do it?

          Reader 1- I just did it!

          Reader 2- Why did I do it?

          Reader 1- Why did I do what?

          Reader 2- That!

          Reader 1- This?

          Reader 2- Yes, that Why did you do that?

          Reader 1- I didn't do that… I did this.

          Reader 2- Ok, when did you do this?

          Reader 1- I did it when you looked away.

          Reader 2- I saw you get it.

          Reader 1-   She got one too!

          Reader 2- Well, put them back.

          Reader 1- We don’t want to.

          Reader 2- You have to.

          Reader 1- You can’t make us put them back.

          Reader 2- Can you put them up?

          Reader 1- No, we will just eat them.

          Reader 2- You won’t!

          Reader 1- We just did!

          Reader 2- Well, I hope you like raw fish!



Copy of Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (one for each student)



1.     The teacher will introduce the lesson with explaining that expressive reading makes the text come "alive." The teacher will further explain that expression is the way our voice naturally moves up and down as we talk. Today we are going to work on your expressive reading.

2.     Teacher talking Have you ever listened to someone read and felt what the character in the story was feeling? This is because the reader is reading with expression. If the reader wasn't, the story would be very boring, and would sound something like this. Read this sentence in a monotone voice, I was so excited to see my dad. Did you fell the excitement of the reader? Probably not. Now read with expression, I was so excited to see my dad.  This time I bet you could feel the excitement of the reader. Now let the students read it both ways so that they can hear/ feel the different when they are reading.

3.     The class will talk about what different punctuations tell us about how to read the sentence. I will show them sentences for each.  I will tell that a period means to take a breath and a coma means to take a very short break. An exclamation means to read with excitement, and a question mark is reading inquisitively. Now I will pass out sentences (attached) for the students to read, have as examples of each kind, and examples of how to read each.

4.     Now we are going to read the book Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type. I will model working through deciding how to read the sentences since this will be the first time they read as an individual.  At first, he could--nt couldn't beli-eveee believe his air-ers-ears. Cows that type? Im-possss-ible! That was the best I could do; let me try again. (This time I know the words, but I will not read it with too much time between the words.) At first, he couldn't believe his ears. Cows that type? Impossible! That time it sound kind of like a robot. (Reads correctly and with expression.) At first, he couldn't believe his ears. Cows that type? IMPOSSIBLE!

5.     Now I am going to let them partner read to practice the new skill they have learned. I will walk around and help them as the need it. As they have now had much practice with reading the book, I am going to explain we will be presenting a reader’s theater to the class.

6.     Now I will pass out the reader's theater to the pairs. Each will read their part. I will give them time to practice them they will present for the class.

7.     As they present to the class, I will be assessing their ability to read with expression.


Assessment: As the students are presenting their reader's theater, I will be assessing their ability to use their new knowledge about reading with expression.



Cronin, Doreen and Betsy Lewin. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Reprint. (February 1, 2000).

Hudon, Leigh. Reader's Theater.  Reading teacher at Yarbrough Elementary School

Parrish, Melissa. (2005) Use Expression!

Roberts Brittany. (2008) Click Clack MOO!!



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