“Express Yourself”

Growing Independence and Fluency
 

Katie Kirkpatrick

 

Rational:  Expression is an important part of becoming a fluent reader.  Skillful readers should learn to read with expression while reading silently or aloud.  Reading with expression allows the story to become fun and exciting.  The goal of this lesson is to teach students the importance of reading with expression.  You become more expressive through lots of practice. 

 

Materials:  Froggy Goes to the Doctor by Jonathan London, chalk, chalkboard, sentence strips (paper and markers to create these sentences; I have suggested sentences listed below, but create different expression sentences if you wish), David Goes to School by David Shannon, The Way I Feel by Janan Cain, When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry… by Molly Garrett Bang, audio tapes for each pair, tape recorders (per group), checklist:

    1. Have tone changes?
    2. Could you hear pitch changes at the appropriate times?
    3. Could you hear voice fluctuations throughout the reading?
    4. Specifically what expressions did you hear?

 

Procedure: 

  1. Begin by explaining that reading is a lot more fun and enjoyable if you read with expression.  What do I mean when I say read with expression?  That’s right!  I mean, I want for you to change your voice with what is going on in the book.  If the character is sad, I want for you to express the sadness through your voice.  If the character is excited, then speak as if you are excited.  When we read with expression, do we read with our voice the same way the entire book?  No, we change our voice to fit the story.  Ask the students what types of expression you might find in a book.  (Happy, excited, confused, sad, surprised, and angry)  Write the different types on the board so that students can be reminded of the different types of expression.
  1. There are many different ways to change the expression of a story.  One way is by reading faster or slower.  By reading faster or slower, then the story may become suspenseful or there may be a surprise coming up.  Changing the tone of your voice may mean that a character is happy or sad.  Changing the pitch of your voice from high to low may cause the book to become scary.  Now I am going to read you some sentence strips, and I want you to tell me what expression I am using.  “Hurry up!  We are going to be late!”  That is right.  The expression was frustrated or angry.  “You made that for me?!”  Very good, I am excited and surprised.  “I don’t want to jump of the diving board.  It is too high!”  That’s right.  The expression used was scary.  Okay, here is the last one.  “You mean you can’t come over and play with me today?”  Yes, that is sad.  Would you be sad if your friend couldn’t come over and play with you?  Ask for volunteers to read a sentence aloud.  Remind students that it is important that the class can decide what expression you are using.  Allow a volunteer for each sentence to come and read. 
  2. Read the book Froggy Goes to the Doctor aloud.  Read the first couple of pages without expression.  Stop and reread the book.  Ask the students which way they liked better and why.  Which way kept you more interested?  The time that I read with expression was much more fun to read because you knew the moods of the characters and how they felt.  Can anyone tell me some of the expression that they heard throughout the book?  Where did you hear that?  Go back and reread that part.  Only reread one or two of the expressions.
  3. Pair students into reading buddies. (2 per group)  Have each group choose a book to read.  Give book talks for each of the different books that can be read.  This way students may become interested in a specific book. Okay class, I want to introduce these books to you.  You need to be listening so that you can decide which book sounds the best to you.  In David Goes to School, David is a student that is always getting into trouble.  When I say always, I mean always.  He never obeys and he is always acting out.  Since David does not listen to the teacher, something happens to him.  But to find out what happens to David, you have to read the book.  The book The Way I Feel is about boys and girls that have all different kinds of feelings.  In this book, you will read about something scary, exciting and even sad.  But to find out why these boys and girls are feeling sad, scared, and excited, you will have to read the book.  The last choice is the book, When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry….  This book is about a girl named Sophie, and Sophie does not want to share with her sister.  She gets so mad at her that see runs angrily out of the house.  But what is going to happen to Sophie?  Does she get lost?  Does she get in trouble?  Well, to find out you will have to read the book!   Have students choose from the books; David Goes to School, The Way I Feel, When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry… (Author and Publisher at bottom of page). Class I want you to now work with your partners.  Remember to read with expression.  I will be coming around to listen to each group read.  Also, if you don’t know a word, remember to use the strategies that we have been using in class.  First use cover ups, then go back and reread the sentence.  If you just don’t know the answer, then ask your partner to help you and then you may ask me.  Before you read the book with expression, I want you to read it without expression.  After you have each read the book with and without expression I want you to talk about which way you like better.  Why do you like that way better?  Which way is harder to read?  While each student is reading the story with and without expression, they will be recorded.  Have each partner hit the record button before his or her partner begins to read.  Provide instruction for tape recorder before the reading. 
  4. Once they have finished reading the story, I want each group to listen to their tape recording of the story.  Have the students decide which one sounds better.  Ask the students why it sounds better.  What are some ways that might improve reading with expression?  What are some expressions you heard?
  5. For assessment, I will walk around the room listening to the readings.  I will write down the different things that I observe during the readings.  This will be a very informal assessment.  Then I will listen to the tape recorders and listen specifically for tone changes, pitch changes, and voice fluctuations.  While listening to the tape, I will use my checklist to evaluate the students.  Here is my checklist.  Did the students:
    1. Have tone changes?
    2. Could you hear pitch changes at the appropriate times?
    3. Could you hear voice fluctuations throughout the reading?
    4. Specifically what expressions did you hear?

I will add these observations to the observations of each child that I made during the reading. 

 

References: 

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