Kelly Starr

Growing Independence and Fluency

Come With Me to Read Expressively

Rationale:† An important aspect of reading fluently is reading with expression.† Reading with expression entails changing the speed, pitch or volume of your voice to enhance attention and understanding of the text.† This lesson will allow children to practice reading with expression.

Materials:† Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens; samples of decodable books, such as What Will the Seal Eat? and Di and the Mice by Educational Insights; Reading assessment checklist

Procedure:† 1.† Read a sample paragraph from the first page of Tops and Bottoms.† For the first time, read it in a steady monotone voice, without taking any pauses."Okay, class, listen as I read the same paragraph a second time a little differently."† This time, read the same paragraph expressively, varying in loudness and softness, using high and low voices, and pausing when needed.

† 2."Class, which way did you like better?† Good, all of you said the second way.† Why did you all like it better the second time?"† Write down examples of what they say on the board.† Review or point out, "When we change the loudness or the softness of our voice, or how fast and slow we read, or how high or low we talk when we read, that is reading expressively.† Has anyone heard that word before?†† Today, we are going to work on all these things when we read, so that we can read expressively.

  1. Read the entire book Tops and Bottoms to the class.† After the second page, when different voices have been applied to different characters, and expression has been shown, ask the children to notice how you have read expressively.† 
  2. Ask the class, "What were some different voices of the characters?† Who spoke slower and louder and deeper?† Right, the bear.† Who spoke higher and softer and quicker?† Right, the hare.† Why do you think I made the voices that way when I read?† If the bear was lazier, should he have had a deeper, slower voice?† And since the hare was craftier, should he have a higher, faster voice?† When the hare was about to fool the bear, the sentence went faster, didnít it?"
  3. Divide the children into groups of four.† Have one student read to the group from Educational Insights books, practicing reading expressively.† "Once everybody has read one time through, reread the book again.† Notice how each other has practiced reading expressively, and share with each other as I walk around."
  4. Hand out the books, and as the children practice reading, walk around and observe each group.† Compare progress with Reading Assessment checklist for Expression (example - Does the child read slow in parts and fast in parts as appropriate?† Does the child change voices when there is dialogue ­ higher or lower?† Louder or softer?† Does the child speak in smooth, connected sentences, or do they spend too much time on isolated words?) 
References:† Adams, Marilyn.† Beginning to Read.† 1990.† pp. 90-92. - Meredith Coblentz. "Let's Read With Expression"

Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens, Harcourt Brace publishers, 1995.

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