Exciting Expressions

Emily Wheeler
Growing Independence and Fluency

RationaleReading with fluency is the ability to recognize words automatically and accurately. Once a student can read with fluency, they should concentrate on reading with expression to make it more exciting for an audience. In this lesson children will begin to understand that reading with expression makes the story more interesting and is fun.  The students will learn this skill by listening to a passage read aloud in a monotone voice and then again with an expressive voice; also, they will practice reading with expression in pairs.


1. “Boys and girls, raise your hands if you to be read to?  Today, I am going to read you a few sentences from this book, A Fine, Fine School. Is everyone ready?”  The teacher should not tell students about using expression yet. The teacher will read a short passage with a monotone voice and then ask, “Who likes the book so far?  How did you like the way I read the sentences? Now let me read the same sentences again.”  Now the teacher reads the same sentences again, but with an expressive voice.  “Who liked the second reading better?” The class should discuss why they liked the sentences better the second time.

2. “As good readers we want our audience to enjoy what we are reading and we want to enjoy it too.  To get your audience interested in a story, you could read with expression. When I read the sentences the second time, I read with expression and everyone enjoyed it better. Right? One way we can do that is to use the voice the character speaking would be talking with. If the character is excited, we should use an excited voice but if he is angry we should use an angry voice.

3. Next, the teacher should read the sentences again using vocal expressions and facial expressions. “Who liked the way I read it that time?  What did you notice about my expressions? The students will give a variety of answers here depending on teacher reading. Did anyone notice my facial expressions? You can use your face to show how characters are feeling. Every one watch my face as I read this sentence.” The teacher should pick a sentence in which the character is feeling sad, happy or angry and then model the facial expressions for the class. Next, the teachers should write 2-5 sentences on the board and have students read students using different voices and expression. The following sentences would be good examples. “Yippee! I got an A on my test! My mom will be very proud of me!” Students should use a happy, excited voice for these sentences. To give the students practice using a sad voice, students could read these sentences, “I got a D on my test. My dad will be mad at me. I will not get to play ball today.”

4. The teacher should do a book talk. “In this book, the principal loves school. He loves school so much that he wants to go everyday of the year. The students hate this idea and have to think of how to stop his awful plan. What do you think will happen? Let’s read and find out! Now the teacher divides the class into pairs and passes out books.  Each pair of students should receive two copies of A Fine, Fine School and a Partner Evaluation Sheet.  Now I want each of you to take turns reading this book out loud with expression. But while you r partner is reading I want you to fill out the sheet on their expression. Let’s go over the sheet.  Number one says, “Does my partner read with good expressions”.  Now number two says, “Did my partner make the story interesting for me?”  Number three says “What happened in the story? Does anyone have any questions about reading with expression? Remember if you come to a word you do not know, you can cover parts of it up to help you figure out what the word is. For example, if I came across the word time and I did not know what word it was, I would cover up everything but the first letter and say that sound. Then, I would uncover the other letters and blend those sounds together.” Teacher should model using the cover up strategy by writing a word on the board and then using an index card to cover parts of it up.

5. For assessment, teachers could use the partner evaluation sheets. Teacher should also call students up one by one and administer do a “one minute read” with each student.


Hannah Williams. Summer 2003. “Expression Makes Reading Exciting!” http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/discov/williamshgf.html

Creech, Sharon. A Fine, Fine School. Scholastic Inc. New York, NY: 2001.

Repeated Reading Checklist

After 2nd               After 3rd
_______                _______      Remembered more words
_______                _______      Read faster
_______                _______      Read Smoother
_______                _______      Read with expression

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