Happy Birthday or Boring Birthday?



 
Growing Independence and Fluency Design

Kelly McIntosh

 

Rationale:

Reading fluency is the ability to read faster, smoother, and with more expression. In order for students to become fluent readers, they must “read and reread decodable words in connected text.” Reading with expression includes changing pitch and tone of the voice to better fit the text. Reading with expression creates more interest and wonder in the story children are reading. As teachers, we want reading to be enjoyable for students so they will read more, hence becoming more fluent readers. We as teachers should model reading with expression to students so when they read independently, they too, will learn to read with expression. This lesson focuses on students reading and rereading decodable books so they can learn to read with expression. The students will do this by playing different parts in the story.

 
Materials:

Dictionary

The Birthday Cake: a play, Joy Cowley. Shortland Productions Limited, 1981.

Ziploc bag with animals names in it (dog, cat, pig, and cow)

Checklist for assessment with following questions on it

            Does this child read smoothly?

            Does this child show facial expression?

Does this child show voice change?

Does this child seem to have an overall understanding of expression?

 
Procedure:

  1. Good morning students. Today we are going to work on something called expression. Does anybody know what expression is? (Allow a few students to offer information if they know). The dictionary tells us that an expression is “A facial aspect or a look that conveys a special feeling”. This means that when you say something with expression, you have feelings to go along with what you are saying.
  2. I’m going to say two phrases and I want you to tell me, which one makes more sense to you. Ready? Happy Birthday (say it with a huge smile, higher pitch, bright eyes) Happy Birthday (say it the second time with a frown, low voice, kind of deep tone, don’t even look at students). Students which “happy birthday” would you believe that I truly meant it, the first time or the second time? Which one would you rather hear on your birthday? Very good! The first time was better because I said it with more expression and you believed me.
  3. Well expression also plays a huge part in reading. If I were to read to you this sentence with a frown on my face and kind of quiet: “Jim came to the edge of the cliff to look off and the rocks started to slide out from under his feet”, you might not be very interested. But if I read it to you like this “Jim came to the edge of the cliff to look off and the rocks started to slide out from under his feet” (show expression by opening your eyes real big like something is about to happen, speak words slower with anticipation) then you might get anxious to find out what happens and read the rest of the story right? Today we are going to work on expression as we all read.
  4. Today we are all going to have a special part in the story that we read. First of all, I want you to all read the story silently to yourself. Then we will split up into small groups and I will assign each of you an animal to be. In the small group, I want you to read the part of the animal that I assigned you. (Pass out the book The Birthday Cake to each student as you are giving instructions). Ask students what makes good actors and actresses in a play. Be sure they understand that actors and actresses have good expressions.
  5. Allow students time to read the story silently. When students start to finish up waiting on others, encourage them to reread the story and explain to them how rereading helps us to read the story better next time, more smoothly and quickly.
  6. Have a bag with each animals name written on it, in the bag. Go to each table and allow each student to draw the animal out that they will be. Students will then take turns in their group reading the story. Encourage students to read with expression and to help each other with the expressions if they get stuck. Monitor the students to see how quickly they are reading the story. When students begin to get through, have them make a list on a sheet of paper the characteristics that make expression important and the difference it makes.
  7. Be sure to walk from group to group monitoring their reading and listening to each child. Create a checklist to assess each child as you hear them read, possible questions you might include are:
    1. Does this child read smoothly?
    2. Does this child show facial expression?
    3. Does this child show voice change?
    4. Does this child seem to have an overall understanding of expression?

 

Reference:

 http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/discov/hillgf.html - Hill, Tamara “Calling All Actors and Actresses!”

 
The Birthday Cake: a play, Joy Cowley. Shortland Productions Limited, 1981.

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