Growing Independence and Fluency

                    ~ Expression in Action ~

Courtney Hamby

Rational: ­
This lesson has been designed to help students build their ability to read independently and fluently.  The lesson focus is primarily on fluency. Fluency will enable the students to reading faster, smoother, and with more expression. The students will be given a text with characters that can be divided up among student groups of three. The students will be asked to read various character parts in the story. The students will learn to read independently and fluently through rereading the script over and over, as they work on expressing the attitude of their character.

Materials: Board to write on, Texts for each student, Fluency check sheets for each student, Teacher record of student’s fluency

Suggested Text: The Red Hen  by: Judith Bauer Stamper


1.) Begin the lesson with providing the students with a poor example of fluent reading. Write the following text up on the board and read it first like a beginning reader, then model how to read it fluently.I have a tree..ri..ble some time shooping in the store today. Did that sentence make any sense?  No, it should be.. I had a troublesome time shopping in the store today.  One thing to remember when you read is to make sure that the sentence makes sense when you read it aloud.” Tell them that reading fluently results in reading that is more enjoyable and that today we are going to work on becoming fluent readers. Review previous learned strategies of a good reader. “When you read out loud you want to make sure others will want to listen to you.

2.) Ask the students if they know what the word expression means.  Call on students and pull together their definitions to form the basic idea that expression is how we change the volume, speed, and tone of our voices as we read the text. Write the definition of expression on the board.  The students can refer to it as they continue with the lesson. Tell the students that today they will be practicing their reading skills by trying to make their voices more expressive. “I want you to pretend that you are the characters in our story. As you read your parts remember to read the lines as if you were really speaking them.

3.) Use a line from the text to provide and example of how a character might sound. Explain that the characters will have different voices and that they will express their words differently. Students should be divided into groups of three and given a copy of the text.

4.) Assign each student in the group a part or a character’s lines to read. Give them the opportunity to read through their part silently before asking them to read out load in their groups. Have the students reread the text together in their small groups. Remind them that they are to portray their character to their group members. After the students read the text together tell them to read it together a second time. “This time when you read use you voice to sound just like your character. Remember to be expressive. Don’t read too fast or too slow.

5.) How the students practice reading several more times, each time they should become more and more comfortable and fluent with the text. Give each group fluency check sheets to track their own fluency and expression as they read. Tell them that while they wait to be called on to read for the teacher they can take turns checking their own fluency with the provided sheets. The student should be instructed to take turns reading and checking each other to see how fluently their independent reading develops. This will help them to feel more confident with the text and ready to perform it for the teacher when their turn comes.

6.) Assessment: Tell them that when they are ready they can come and perform for you. “When you all have your parts ready and believe that you can read and perform them with true expression then I will call you over the show me how well you can fluently read through the text as a group.” Call the individual groups and let them read to you as you take notes of their progress and struggles. Check the students primarily for fluency and expression as they read their parts to you.

 ­ References: ­

                Hill, Tonya. “Beeing Expressive.” The Reading Genie.

               Murray, Bruce.  “Developing Reading Fluency. The Reading Genie.

               Smith, Elizabeth.  "Use Expression."  The Reading Genie.

               Dean, Lindsay. “Hit a Home Run with Reading Speed.” The Reading Genie.

Stamper,  Judith Bauer. The Red Hen. Scholastic. New york, 1998.

Teachers Record of student Performance:

  _____ / 10     Read the words accurately

2.)  _____/ 10       Read at a steady pace (not too fast or slow)

3.)  _____/ 10       Read lines smoothly without interruptions

4.)  _____/ 10       Read Script with expression

5.)  _____/ 10       Worked well together with classmates

6.)  _____/ 10       Showed actions of the characters through voice tone

7.) _____/ 10        Was ready to read when the time came

8.)  _____/ 10       Followed along with the other students reading

9.)  _____/ 10       Read lines of the story assigned like a fluent reader

10.)  ____  / 10      Show evidence of skills practiced and learned                                                                         through reading and rereading the script.

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