Happy, Angry, Excited!

Growing independence and fluency


By Jenni Anderson

Rationale:   In order for a child to become a good reader, the child must ready fluently and on his or her own.  Students develop fluency by reading and rereading.  For a child to develop reading fluency he or she must be expressive, flowing, and speedy when reading.  "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, we will discuss reading using expression. Reading aloud with expression is more interesting to listen to as well as read.  In this lesson students will pair up and read the story Snarlyhissopus.

Materials: paper plates, paint sticks, class copies of Snarlyhissopus By: Alan MacDonald; Published by Scholastic Inc., Fluency assessment sheet, tape recorder, tape of a story, crayons, markers, glue, tapes, yarn, construction paper

Fluency Assessment Sheet:


After Second reading

After third reading 

Remembered more words 



Read faster 



Read smoother 



Read with expression 





1.      Split the students up into dyad groups. Say, "Today class, everyone will be practicing with a partner reading the book, Snarlyhissopus. When you come across a word you do not know, I want you to crosscheck by reading the rest of the sentence."  Teacher should now model to students how to crosscheck by rereading the rest of the sentence.  "This will help you to figure out the word from the rest of the sentence.  Everyone is going to read the story twice so that we all know the words in the story." Then teacher walks around class and looks for students that need help and assesses their fluency.


2.      After students have read the story once, say, "There are 8 different characters in the story-hippo, pelican, monkey, zebra, leopard, anteater, giraffe, and elephant. I will write the different characters on the board.  One at a time, I would like everyone to pick up a paper plate and paint stick.  Pick one character from the story to make a mask of.  You can use any of the extra materials (crayons, markers, yarn, and construction paper to make your mask.  Your last step is to glue the paint stick onto the back for your handle.”  Then students make the masks and teacher will encourage rereading story with expression.  "Now I want you to reread the story and when your character comes up, I want you to put up the mask and read with a different voice."


3.      Explain to students that reading with expression makes them a more fluent reader.  Play a tape of a fluently read story with expression and one without.  “Everyone listen to the story.”  Play first story.  “Now, everyone listen to the same story again.”  Play second story.  “Which story was more interesting to listen too?”  Students should say the story with expression is more interesting.  Next, model reading a part of the story using expression and different voices for the characters.  Then encourage students to read the story the way you did.  “Now, everyone partner back up and take turns reading the first two pages aloud using expression like I did.  Remember this will help you become a fluent and good reader.”


4.      Next, place students into dyad reading groups and have them bring the masks.  “Each of you now needs to read the story to each other and use your character masks when your particular character comes into the story.  Use a different voice for each character as well for your particular character.  Remember to use different voices like I did and like we practiced.”  The teacher will walk around the classroom and observe fluency, expression and speed. 


5.      Next students will read his or her characters part aloud with the teacher so assessments can be made.  Tape-record the students so they can listen to themselves. After student has read to the teacher, the teacher will suggest areas to work on.  Use the Fluency Assessment Sheet to score the students work after they have finished reading Snarlyhissopus. 


http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/insp/stokesgf.html (Web page titled Express Yourself by Alison Stokes)

MacDonald, Alan.  2000.  Snarlyhissopus.  New York, NY:  Scholastic Inc.

Murray, Bruce.  "Developing Reading Fluency."  The Reading Genie.  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/fluency.html

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