"Lights, Camera, Action!"

Brandy Thomas

Growing Independence and Fluency

Rationale:
  Sight/word recognition is the crucial element for developing fluency. Once the obstacle of having to decode is removed meaning, comprehension, and simple joy take center stage. This lesson will focus on reading expressively. Expression makes any story more enjoyable and creates a relationship between its character’s lives and the reader. Becoming more involved in the plot also increases comprehension and voluntary reading.

Materials:
 Taped reading (by teacher) that models expression and smoothness, tape recorder with microphone, readers’ theatre script (created by teacher and students) of Aesop’s Fables, Aesop’s Fables-list of stories, art supplies (paper plates, masking tape, glue, Popsicle sticks, old (lone) socks, markers, or poster board with head and arm holes cut out.  See attached page for example. And an assessment checklist with categories such as:

a) Recognized Punctuation                    yes             no              sometimes
b) change in voice pitch              yes            no              yes, but incorrectly
c) changed tempo in reading        yes         no
d) attempted to distinguish between characters       yes       no
e) other comments:


Procedure:
1. "Introduce lesson by explaining that reading will become just as natural and smooth as spoken language. All anyone needs is practice and other literary experiences (rereading with sub goal in mind: speed, smoothness, expression, silent reading, and voluntary reading (personal choice and enjoyment)).
2. Ask students: Which sounds better to you? (teacher should read one with expression and one without)

a) Mary yelled "NO, don’t do that!" But it was too late; all she heard next was "screeeeeeeechhh" and "boom!"
b) Mary……yelled…no…don’t…do…that…..But …it…was…too…late…all…she…heard…was….screech…and…boom.
                  (teacher should wait for appropriate response.) Very good, see how
                   much more fun and exciting simple words can be when you read it
                   like a movie star would say it?
3. Review:  punctuation and other writing symbols/prompts/cues.
Teacher should write one symbol on the board at a time, allow students to give name and meaning. Together, teacher and student can make up a sentence on the board.  Exs: question mark, exclamation point, quotation marks, commas, period, and so on.

4. Activity:  tell students:  Now it is time for us to become mini actors and actresses from our own Hollywood. Who is your favorite? I bet we can do a lot better, because we are going to write our own skits to perform.

a) break students into heterogeneous groups of three or four
b) allow each group to choose one fable (Aesop’s) to create a readers’ theatre skit for. EX: "Lion and the Mouse" (good theme and lesson). Aesop’s Fables are under no copyright rules and can be manipulated freely.
c) Children should read story once to themselves (peer and teacher assistance may be needed).
d) In groups: decide who is who, discuss meaning, themes, and rewrite script in to a skit. (teacher assistance).
e) Reread with teacher taped reading that models smoothness and expression.
f) Make props or bring props from home. EX: paper plate and Popsicle stick puppets, sock puppets, and life size puppet from poster board (child decorates front and then sticks face and hands through cutouts).
g) Perform skits to class and then those who volunteer can perform for another class as well.
5. Assessment:  Assessment checklist (should look as follows, feel free to add more categories being observed and looked for). Circle answer.
a) Recognized Punctuation                    yes             no              sometimes
b) change in voice pitch  yes            no              yes, but incorrectly
c) changed tempo in reading        yes         no
d) attempted to distinguish between characters       yes       no
e) other comments:
    Teacher could also read a variety of sentences (some expressively and some not); students could distinguish between by writing down or circling answer.
                (sheet with questions numbered).

References:
 

Activity idea adapted from:  Santrock, John. Educational Psychology. McGraw-Hill, 2001.  pg. 398.
Adams, M.J. Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print. MIT Press: Cambridge, 1990. pgs. 88-94.
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