Christy Cooley
Developing Fluency with Expression

Express Yourself

Rationale: The purpose of this lesson is to teach children to read fluently and more expressively.  When children learn to read with expression, they become more confident readers.  They also enjoy reading more when using expression.  In this lesson, we will learn to read with expression by using whole texts.
Materials: chalk, chalkboard, one copy of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, enough age-appropriate books for each student in the class (must be books that can be read with expression), and paper for each child

1) Begin by reviewing cross-checking.  Say: Remember to first try the word, then finish the sentence.  If something does not make sense, go back and reread the sentence.  I will also remind the children to use cover-ups.

2) Next, tell the children that they are going to learn to read by using expression.  Does anyone know what reading with expression means?  Good job!  It means making the way that we read more interesting for other people who are listening to us.  There are different ways to express our reading voice.  We can change how loud or soft our voice is, and we can change the pace of our reading.  We can also change the pitch of our voice.  Today, we are going to practice using some of these expressions.

3) Ask the students: Has anyone ever heard someone read a story that was very exciting because of their expressions?  Explain to the children that stories are much more enjoyable when expressions are used.

4) Next, take out Goldilocks and the Three Bears and model reading to the children without using expression.  Then, model the story (a few pages) a second time using expression.  Ask the children: Which one did you like better?  Good!  Why did you like the second one better?  Thatâs right, because my expressive voice made the story more enjoyable.  We will make a list on the board.  This list will include some of the expressions that I used in the story.

5) Next, I will group the children in pairs.  Each group will have a different age-appropriate book.  I want each person to read your book to your partner without using expression.  Then, you and your partner will make a list of different expressions to use in your book.  Then, each person will read the book again using expressions.

6) I will have each group come to the front of the class and read their book using expression.  When they finish reading, they will show the class the list of expressions that they made.  Everyone did an excellent job reading their story with expression.

7) For assessment, I will have age-appropriate books for each child.  Each child will choose a book.  Then, they will read it and make a list of their expressions (like we did earlier).  When they are done, each child will come up to the teacherâs desk at different times and read their book with expression.

Reference: Marilyn Adams, Beginning to Read; 1990

Click here to go to illuminations.