Express Yourself!

Growing Independence and Fluency



Melissa Roddam 



When students become more fluent readers, it is important for them to read with expression.   Reading with expressions makes reading more fun for the listener as well as the reader.  This lesson will help students read aloud with expression through practice by monitoring their changes in volume, speed, and pitch of their voices. 



          Tell the students to use cross checking (quick review) If they come to a word they are unfamiliar with, they should read the rest of the sentence. If they need to change it, then that‚s okay.  Have students reread the sentence once they figure out the word.  Remember- modeling works well!



Š        The Way I Feel by Janan Cain

Š        Multiple copies of When Sophie Gets Angry, Really, Really, Angry∑ by: Molly Bang   (depending on reading level)

Š        Sentence strips

Š        Spaghetti by Shel Silverstein



  1. Begin by asking students if they have ever heard a good story teller.  "Why do you think he/she was a good story teller?"  "Oh, because he/she read with emotions?"  "What are emotions?"  "The way you feel∑happy, sad, anxious, angry, and excited."  "Well, today we are going to learn how to become  better story tellers."


  1. "First, I am going to read Spaghetti by Shel Silverstein to you with out any emotion or expression."  "When I finish raise your hand and tell me if you enjoyed it or not." (Read story monotone and get feedback from students.)  "Boring?"  "I thought so too."  "Okay, I am going to read it with expression." (read poem)  "What did you think about the poem that time?"



  1. "What did you notice when I was reading the poem the second time?"  "Did anyone notice the changes in my voice?"   "Well, to read with expression all you have to do read faster, read slower, or change your voice."  "For example, if I were to say 'I won first place!'"  "Did you hear how high and soft my voice was?"  "Let‚s try another."  "Go to your room!"  "What emotion do you think that expresses?"   "Right, angry!



  1. "Now I am going to hold up a sentence strip."  "I want each of you to read it silently and determine what emotion should be felt."  "Then, I want a volunteer to read it to the class using expression."

     "Can I go outside and play?"

     "Stop right there!"

     "I was home alone, and I heard footsteps in the other room."

     "I won!"



  1. Read The Way I Feel by Janan Cain aloud to the class.  Use expressions.



  1. Pass out copies of When Sophie Gets Angry-Really, Really Angry∑ to each student. (depending on reading level)  This book is about Sophie who is having a bad day and gets very angry and runs out of her house to get away.  "Read this book silently to yourself."  "Notice the different emotions."  Remind them if they have trouble decoding a word that they should cover up part of the word and sound it out and then cover up the other part of the word and sound out what is left.  Then, tell them to say the sounds together, blend it.



  1. Divide the students into pairs so each will have a partner.  Using the same book, have one student listen as his partner reads the story.  Have the listener make notes of when he heard examples of good expression.  (Give the children practice first) Then, the partners switch roles.  After they finish reading the students will talk about the notes they took and point out good examples of expressions the other used 




       Walk around the room and listen to the children read.  Take notes of when you noticed good expression.  Take note of the students who are struggling and read one on with them later.  Practice makes perfect!





Bang, Molly. When Sophie Gets Angry- Really, Really Angry∑Scholastic Inc.  New York:      NY (1999).


Cain, Janan. The Way I Feel.  Scholastic Inc. New York: NY (2000).


Silverstein, Shel. Where the Sidewalk Ends: Spaghetti. Harper Collins   (2002)


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