"Beeing" Expressive
Growing Independence and Fluency

Tonya Hill

Rational ­ In order for a student to progress to a good reader he/she must become both independent and fluent.  This lesson focuses on fluency. "Fluency means reading faster, smoother, more expressively, or more quietly with the goal of reading silently.  Fluent reading approaches the speed of speech." (Murray)  In this lesson the students will be required to read and reread Honeybees until they become fluent.  We will be focusing on expression; however, the rereading of the text will help to build automaticity as well.  It is my hope that this lesson will help students to 1understand the concept of reading with expression, 2 read with expression, 3 read with a partner, and 4build automaticity.

Materials ­ Joyful Noise Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman; Harper Trophy USA, 1988; Copies for each student of the poems Honeybees and Grasshoppers; chalk/dry-erase board; Paragraph of information about honeybees (could be from internet or encyclopedia); Expression Checklist; and Honeybee Venn-Diagram

Procedures ­
1. Begin by reviewing cross checking.  Remind students that if they see a word that they do not recognize, that it is helpful to go back and reread the sentence for clues.  Model this concept for the students.
    a. Example: Before reading the following sentence choose a word to "mess-up on".
    b. Read the sentence "The Grasshoppers vaulted from stem to stem."  If you chose to misread "vaulted," go back and reread the word again.  Then reread the sentence; this time "get" the word.  This will help the students see how cross checking is done.
2. After cross checking has been reviewed, the class will begin to discuss expression.  Ask the students if they know what the word expression means.  Call on students as they raise their hands.  Use their definitions to create one that resembles "changing the volume, speed, and tone of our voices as we read."
3. Write the generated definition on the chalk board or dry erase board.  This way the students can refer to it as they continue with the lesson.  Beneath the definition, create three columns ­ label them Volume, Speed, and Tone.
4. Explain to the students what each concept means and give examples.
    a. Volume ­ Explain that volume is how loud something is spoken. (Write this underneath Volume on the board.)  Demonstrate using the word "Stop."  First, say it loudly.  Then say it using a conversational volume.  Last, whisper "stop."  Discuss the differences in the volumes and what affect the change in volume had on the word.  Ask students for their ideas here.
    b. Speed ­ Explain that speed is how quickly or slowly something is read.  (Write this underneath Speed on the board.)  Demonstrate using the first sentence from the paragraph on honeybees.  Read it painfully slowly the first time.  Ask for reactions.  Then read the sentence at warp speed.  Ask for reactions.   Last, read it at a normal speed.  Ask for reactions. Tell students "Sometimes we speed up and sometimes we slow down our speech."    Ask the students to give examples of times that they have spoken quickly.  Examples ­ when excited, nervous, scared. . . Next ask students to give examples of times when they have spoken slowly.  Examples ­ when tired, sad, confused. . .
    c. Tone ­ Explain that tone is the type of voice used when speaking. (Write this underneath Tone on the board.)  Demonstrate using the last sentence in the honeybee paragraph.  First, read the sentence like you are angry.  Ask the students "What tone was I using here?"  Now read the sentence like you are excited.  Once again ask "What tone was I using here?"  Last read the sentence like you are bored.  Ask again about which tone was used.  Discuss the differences in tone and how the change in tone affected the reading and the way the students felt as they listened.
5.  Demonstrate the importance of expression by slowly and monotonously reading the paragraph about honeybees.  Ask the students if they enjoyed hearing about the honeybees.  As they chorus "No," ask them "Why didnít you enjoy the reading?"  Now read the paragraph again using expression.  Make certain that the volume, speed, and tone changed as you read.
6. Ask the students if they noticed anything different.  Write their responses on the board in the correct columns (Volume, Speed, and Tone).
7. Before reading the poem Grasshoppers practice with another teacher or your best student.  Make certain that the reading will be obviously expressive.  It may help to write notes in the margin about changes in volume, speed, and tone.  Give the students a copy of the poem.  Explain to the class that this poem is written for two people to read together.
    a. "Look at the two columns.  I am going to read the right column and my helper is going to read the left column.  We will read some lines at the same time and other lines individually.  Listen and follow along on the poem as we read it aloud."  Read the poem once so that the students can get an idea of how the poem is laid out.
    b. "Now we will read the poem again.  Pay attention to our expression as we read.  When you hear a difference in Volume, Speed, or Tone write the word beside the line where you noticed the change.  For example if I read the title really loudly, what would you write beside the title?"  Wait for a response.  "Thatís right you would write Volume beside the title.   If I read the title in happy voice, what would you write beside the title?"  Wait for a response.  "Thatís right you would write Tone beside the title."  Read the poem with your partner.  Make sure that the reading is expressive.
    c. After reading the poem, discuss the changes in expression that the student noticed.  Refer to your notes in the margin of your copy.  Take this poem up for a participation grade.  (Assessment)
8. Give the students a copy of Honeybees.  Tell each child to pick a partner.  Have the students pick which column they wish to read.  Explain that in the left column the speaker is a worker bee and in the right column the speaker is the queen bee.  Have the students read their chosen columns silently.  Ask if there were any words that caused trouble or if there was anything they didnít understand.
9. Now have the students practice reading the poem aloud with their partner.  Remind the students that we will all be reading at the same time, so we must read quietly.  Instruct the students to practice reading the poem aloud three times.
10. After the students have finished reading the poem aloud, remind them that we need to read with expression.  "Now we are going to add expression to our readings.  With your partner, go through the poem and make notes in the margin about where you could change your volume, speed, and tone.  Do this like we did for the Honeybees poem."
11. Have students practice reading their poems using the expressions they listed on their papers.  Give them about ten or fifteen minutes to practice.  Remind the students that they must also work on reading well with their partners.
12. Assessment:  Pass out the student checklists.(included below)   Tell students that they must read the poem to at least two other groups and the teacher.  Each group will use the checklist to evaluate the group reading.  Tell the students that they will pick one of the readers in each group to evaluate.  They need to focus on that personís reading.  Go over the checklist to make certain that the students understand exactly what they will be expected to do.  It may help to tell students where to go each time.  This may cut down on the confusion.
13. Begin the readings.  Once again you may have to remind the students to keep their voices down.  If students donít come to you, call on them or go to the groups.
14. Comprehension Activity:  Instruct the students to give you the checklists when they have evaluated two groups.  When they have evaluated two groups and read for two groups and the teacher, have them pick up a Venn-diagram.   Have the students fill out the graphic organizer comparing and contrasting the worker bee and the queen bee.  This can also be finished for homework.(You can create this diagram by drawing two large interlapping circles.  In one circle write the word Worker bee and in the other circle write the word Queen bee.  In the interlapping section write the word both.)

References ­
Evans, Meredith.  "Encore." The Reading Genie. http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/illum/evansgf.html
Murray, Bruce.  "Developing Reading Fluency."  The Reading Genie. http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/fluency.html
Smith, Elizabeth.  "Use Expression."  The Reading Genie http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/illum/smithgf.html

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Expression Checklist

Your Name ___________________________________________________________________________

 ďBeeingĒ Expressive Checklist

First Readerís Name _____________________________
 

  None
  Some 
 A lot
Changes Volume
Changes Speed
Changes Tone
Reads well with Partner

 What did the reader do REALLY well? ___________________________________________________________________________

What does the reader need to work on? ___________________________________________________________________________
 
 

ďBeeingĒ Expressive Checklist

Second Readerís Name ___________________________
 
 

  None
  Some 
 A lot
Changes Volume
Changes Speed
Changes Tone
Reads well with Partner

 What did the reader do REALLY well? ___________________________________________________________________________

What does the reader need to work on? ___________________________________________________________________________