Express Yourself!


Growing Independence and Fluency

By: Mary Haley Byrne


Rationale:  It is important for students to become fluent readers in order to progress in their reading abilities. Fluency is the ability to read faster, smoother, and more expressively. In this lesson the students will be required to read and reread The Fun House. We will be focusing on expression focusing on clue words and punctuation. We will also be working out automaticity as the students reread the text to familiarize themselves with the story. Thus, they are building their fluency level throughout the lesson.


Materials:  Power point projected on smart board or overhead screen, dry erase board, a copy of The Fun House for each student, note cards with words, cover up popsicle stick, checklist for buddy reading (attached), pencils or other writing utensils for each student.


1. Say: Today we are going to talk about how to express yourself when you read. It's very similar to when you express your self when you talk. Can you tell if someone is sad or happy or mad by the way they talk? [Allow students to make a connection]. We have learned about exclamation points and question marks, so we are going to use those and words as clues to tell us how to read the sentences in a story.

2.  Say: Let's practice together recognizing people's feelings. Let's say I read this sentence in a book I am reading: "I lost my favorite toy." [Display it on the power point]. I think that I should say this sentence with a sad voice because I know that if I lost my favorite toy I would be very sad. I would say it like this... [Say sentence in a sad voice]. What if I read this sentence: "The parade was so fun!" [Display on power point]. Would I say this with a sad voice, a happy voice, or a mad voice? Very good! I think it would be happy because there is an exclamation mark and they are talking about how fun a parade is.


3. Say: Another important part of reading with expression is having the right speed. What if I read this sentence like this: "I have a dog named Max" [Display on the power point and read it very fast]. Did that sound right? Nope it sure didn't! What about if I read it like this? [Read very slowly]. Did that sound right? That's right, it was too slow! How about this? [Read at the right speed]. Was that better? You are right! When you read at the right speed, not only will you understand it better, but the people you are reading to will as well. Lets read this sentence together at the right speed: "I took my dog for a walk." Awesome job! Lets try one more: "I like to eat cookies." Fabulous!

4. Say: Before we start reading on our own, lets review how to cover up parts of the word to help us read words better. Lets say I am trying to read this word: mask [Write on the board]. First thing I do is cover up everything but the vowel [cover up everything but a]. What is this letter? Good. What sound does a make? Good, /a/ as in apple. I will leave m uncovered. What sound does this make? Very good /m/! So I know I have /m//a/. Now I uncover the next letter. What is this letter? Good. What sound does it make? Excellent, /s/! So lets go back over it so far /m//a//s/. Now, what is the last letter? Perfect! What sound does it make? Yes, /k/. So lets do it together, /m//a//s//k/. Mask! Now you try it with this word and see what you get [pass out the word smash and let them try it on their own]. What did you get? Awesome! Now lets try it again [do it again with scat, plate, flask]

5. Give each student a copy of The Fun House. Say: I am going to divide you into partners. You are going to take turns reading a page. Make sure you read with expression because you are going to perform it for your partner. When you are finished reading it, come get a buddy checklist from me. First lets go over the checklist together [project it on the projector, read over it, and explain it].

6. When they come get the checklist say: I want each of you to read over the checklist. When you have both read over it I want one person in the group to go first and read the story very expressively. Their buddy needs to make checkmarks on the sheet to tell whether or not the story was read with expression. Both buddies will read and fill out a checklist. When you are done raise your hand and I will call on you for you to come and read a page to me!  It would be a good idea to reread the story while you are waiting to read to me.


7. Assessment: Take up the checklists for a participation grade and also to get an understanding of what areas students excelled at and what areas they still need to work on. When they come read to me I will use the same checklist as the students and will notice whether or not the child reads with expression.



Sims, Matt. The Fun House. High Noon Books: Novato, CA (2005).

Hamby, Courtney. "Expression in Action."

Brock, Allison. "How Do You Feel?"


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Expression Checklist

Your Name _____________________________________

Partner's Name __________________________________



My reading buddy's voice changed as he or

she read the story                                                                    Yes                           No



My reading buddy seemed to enjoy
reading the book                                                                     Yes                            No



The Fun House made me enjoy                                              Yes                            No
the book



My reading buddy sounded just like
the character must have felt                                                 Yes                            No