Book Talk Fun!

Rebecca Lee Branum
Growing Independence and Fluency

Rationale:  For children to not only become fluent readers but also to learn to enjoy reading they must learn to put feeling into their reading by using lots of expression.  In this lesson children will learn to use expression in their reading as well as what expression does to make a book sound as interesting as its contents.

Materials:  pencil, paper, leveled books marked with dots (children should know which color dots they should choose to read), book Tiki Tiki Tembo.


1. Begin by speaking to the class in a very monotone, dull voice and say "Today class we are going to talk about expression.  Expression is when you put feelings into your words, written and spoken.  Does it sound as if I am putting any feelings, expression, in what I am saying?"  Go on by asking the class a few feelings they have and writing them on the board. Begin by giving the example exited.
2. Next ask the class if they would be interested in books where authors showed no expression.  "Of course you wouldn't!  Then ask "if I gave you book talks about books I want you to read and used not expression how many of you would want to read them? I don't think any of you would.  Today we are going to practice reading books with expression and then write our own book talks to present the books to the class.  First I will read Tiki Tiki Tembo to you within lots of expression and then do a sample book talk as if you had never heard the story before.  Let's begin."  The teacher reads Tiki Tiki Tembo modeling great expression and then reviews that a book talk is a brief summary of a book where you take the audience to the problem and stop without telling what happens as the solution. Teacher then gives book talk on the book.
3. Pair your students and then ask them to choose a book out of the classroom library with the dot color they are assigned to read.  After choosing a book tell your students to first read their book silently to themselves before taking turns reading it to your partner.  "Remember to use lots of expression while reading your book to your partner.  Get him/her interested in the book by using lots of feeling."  The teacher should constantly walk around the room and observe each reader to be sure everyone is doing what they are supposed to and not struggling with the books chosen.
4. As everyone finishes review with your children that punctuation marks at the end of sentences can let us know what kind of expression to use when we read sentences.   Model each type of punctuation on the board and read the sentences with the correct expressions.  For example, for the sentence 'where is my book?' you would use a concerned voice with maybe a little frustration.   You would then explain to the students the expression you put into reading the sentence.
5. In the same pairs ask the students to pretend to be salesmen and write a book talk about the book they have just read.  Allow the students to use their partner to help write their book talk.  "Now remember boys and girls that to get someone to want to read that book you should use lots of expression.  Also, don't forget that in a book talk you only take your audience up until the frustration level where the problem begins and then you stop!  You are a salesman and you should keep your customers wanting more.  Putting your feelings into your book talk will only help you.
6. For assessment while each student is presenting their book talks to the class (allow the students to read the book talk that they have written) use a checklist with the following qualifications:  voice fluctuation, feelings expressed during talk sad, exited, mad, jealous, etc., overall performance.

Reference:  Eldredge, J. Lloyd.  Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  Englewood
Cliffs, NJ:  Prentice Hall, Inc.  1995. pp. 122-145.

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