Expression Experts
Jenny Earnest
Growing Independence and Fluency
Rationale:  In order for children to become better readers, they must learn to read fluently and independently.  To become fluent readers, children must learn to read smoothly, silently, and expressively.  This lesson will focus on teaching and encouraging children to read using as much expression as possible.

Materials:  primary writing paper; posterbaord showing different expressive sentences, teacher's copy of Spiders in the Fruit Cellar by Barbara M. Joosse, assortment of level appropriate, decodable books for the students to choose from to read with expression

1.  Today we are going to learn a great new trick!  We are going to learn how to read with expression.  Does anyone know what reading with expression means?  Reading with expression means that we read in a way that shows feelings, such as sad, happy, excited, mad, scary, etc.  When we read with expression, we make what we are reading more exciting and interesting to hear, whether it be someone else we are reading to or even if we are reading to ourselves.

2.  Listen to me as I say this sentence, and tell me whether you think I am reading expressively.  (Read sentence with no expression)  I did not show  how I was feeling when I read that sentence.  Now listen as I say this sentence.  (Read with much expression)  Did you hear the expression as I read that sentence that time?  Which way was more enjoyable and interesting for you to hear me read?  I would like for you to practice talking with no expression and then talking with much expression.  (Assign partners and give the students a few minutes to talk expressively and unexpressively to one another) I heard lots of expression as I walked around the room!

3.  I want everyone to look up at this poster that has some sentences on it.  Each sentence is followed by some type of punctuation.  Punctuation is the symbol at the end of a sentence that helps us to know what kind of expression we should use when we are reading the sentence.  A period at the end of a sentence usually means that a statement is being made.  These sentences may be read with less expression than other sentences, but you can still change the volume and pitch of your voice to make the sentence sound more interesting.  (Show sentence - The dog ran and jumped at the park.)  Now,  let's try reading a sentence with an exclamation point at the end.  Remember that an exclamation point will make us sound excited.  (Wow!  This place is great!) Did you notice how I read that sentence with lots of excitement? (Continue modeling other sentences with other punctuation).

4.  Now that we have practiced together, I am going to read a book to you using lots of expression.  I want you to listen to how the sound of my voice changes as I read with expression.  (Read Spiders in the Fruit Cellar to the students)  Can you name some different types of expression I used when reading this book?

5.  Now that you have had lots of practice and examples of expressive reading, we are going to do a fun activity.  I would like each of you to write a short story using sentences with expression.  Remember that punctuation marks can mean excitement and surprise.  Question marks can mean confusion. (Go over all punctuation with the students)  You will each have ten minutes to write your short stories.  They can be silly, serious, or anything you want them to be.  These are your own expressive stories.  (After ten minutes has passed, have the students get a partner and read their story to one another.  After all of the stories have been read, the teacher may select a few students to read their story to the class using expression).

6.  Students will select a book from the assortment that was selected by the teacher.  (Make sure that each book that the children are selecting from has a good amount of expression to be read)  Students may find a spot around the room to practice reading their expressive book.

Assessment:  As the students are practicing reading their books, the teacher will call one student up at a time to read a few pages from their book with expression.  The teacher will have a checklist to make sure that students are using as much expression as possible.  This will help the teacher to know who grasps the concept and who does not.  If the student is having difficulty the teacher can help him/her and then call him/her back up at another time to see if there is improvement.
Example check sheet:


Spiders in the Fruit Cellar by Barbara M. Joosse

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