Let’s Read with Expression

Growing Independence and Fluency
Meredith Coblentz

Rationale:  In order to become good readers it is important for students to learn how to read with expression.  By changing the volume, speed, and pitch of your voice students can create expression.  This lesson is designed to give students the opportunity to practice reading with expression.

Materials:  1) There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback 2) various decodable books by Educational Insights 3) Checklist for Assessment

1.  Introduce the lesson by asking the students if they have ever listened to a really good storyteller.  “How did the way she read the story make it so interesting?  Raise your hand if you remember. Reading a story is similar to telling a story. While reading in itself is very important, using lots of expression helps keep your audience's attention and makes reading more enjoyable.  Some ways of expressing our reading voice is changing how loud or soft our voice is, changing how fast we read, or changing the pitch of our voice. Today we are going to practice these different ways of expressing our reading.”

2.  Read the book; There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.  I am going to demonstrate an expressive reader and a non-expressive reader.  I want you to pay close attention to the different ways I read this page (teacher will read page with no expression and monotone, and then with expression).  What differences do you notice in these two readings?  Which part did you enjoy listening to more? Why?

3.  Did everyone notice that my voice got loud and then soft and fast and then slow?  By changing your voice the story becomes more interesting.  The change in pitch or volume of our voice can mean many different things when we are reading.  For example, when someone reads something fast, it may mean something exciting is about to happen.

4.  After modeling the various ways that you can use expression divide students into groups of two.  You are going to have an opportunity to become better readers by practicing reading with expression.  I want you to concentrate on making those different changes in your voice.  The more times you read the book the better you will become at reading with expression.

5.  Give each group a decodable book and ask the children to read to each other using expression.  Remind them if they are having trouble decoding that they cover up part of the word and sound it out then cover up the other part of the word and sound it out.

6.  After each person has had a chance to read the book have students come up and read a few pages of their book using expression.

7.  For assessment walk around to each group and listen to children reading with expression.  Use checklist for assessment:
Speed:  slow or natural
Smoothness:  word by word or connected
Pitch:  flat or melodious
Volume: Unchanging or changing

Marilyn Adams.  Beginning to Read.  1990 pp. 90-92 http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/fluency.html
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