Tina Hayles
Growing Independence and Fluency

 Lights, Camera, and Action!

Rationale: As beginning readers begin to master phonemes and learn to decode words, students start to focus on fluency. It is important to encourage students to read more expressively. After children gain this aspect of reading they may even enjoy reading more. This lesson will encourage students to read expressively by pretending they are actors and actresses.

Materials: Individual copies of the play, The Pie Thief written by: Cowley, Joy, IL. Robyn, Belton. Shortland Publications Limited (1982).
       Expression sentences (I love chocolate ice cream!, Help! I am falling!, Donít do that!, There is a bug on me!) written on poster board
        Expression Checklist
Procedures: 1. Introduce the lesson by talking about the childrenís favorite television show. Why do you like these shows? Is it because the shows are interesting? How do the actors and actresses talk in the shows? Do you think you would still like the show if the actors/actresses talked like this: Hey Jim. There is a bear behind you. (Monotone and without expression). How do you think they should have said it? Class response hopefully: Hey Jim! There is a bear behind you! That's right, the actors should use expression as they talk. Actors and actresses change their voices in different situations. Sometimes they use loud or soft voices or talk slow or fast. This makes the show more interesting. You can also use expression as you read. This will make your reading more interesting, too.
2. We are going to practice using expression by pretending that we are all actors and actresses. First letís practice using expression as we read. Hold up an expression sentence. The teacher will model the first sentence. Hold up the sentence and read. I love chocolate ice cream! Ask the class to read the next sentence (Help! I am falling!). Hold up several more sentences and let individual students read the expression sentences.
3. Now that we know how to read with expression I am going to pass out the play, The Pie Thief. Each child will get a copy. Look over the script and try to see which character you would like to play. You might see some unfamiliar words but do not worry. Remember the steps to figure out an unfamiliar word. First you take a shot! (Just try to read it.) Second, Read to the end. (Go ahead and see if you can read the word that would fit.) Third, you can change your guess. (Only if you need to.). And fourth, read the sentence again to get a better understanding of the meaning and how to use expression in the sentence.
4. I want you all to get in groups of fours. Each group is in charge of picking one person to play each role. The different roles are Grandma Busybody, Cousin Sally, Cousin Jack, and Sloppy Dog. Be sure to really think about your character and different ways you can use the tone of your voice and the speed of your voice to illustrate how the character really feels. Now it is time to start reading with expression, Lights, Camera, and Action!
5. For assessment, the teacher can walk around as the students rehearse and listen to see if the students are using expression as they read. You will use an expression checklist.

Allen, R. V. (1976). Language experiences in communication. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.


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