“Reading with Expression”

 Wendy Adams
Growing Independence and Fluency

Rationale:  It is important for children to learn to read with expression so that it will be easier for them to comprehend what they are reading. Teaching children to read with expression will also make reading more enjoyable for them. Before children can read with expression, they need to be able to identify punctuation marks and the expressions that they stand for in text. This lesson will teach children to identify the expression that specific punctuation marks represent. This lesson will also help them practice reading expressively.

Materials:  Paper, pencils, set of cards with “!”, “?”, and “.” on them for each student, multiple copies of No More Water in the Tub by Ted Arnold, and a handout with sentences using different types of expression without punctuation marks for each student.

1. I will introduce the lesson by explaining that in written language there are certain punctuation marks that tell us what expression to make while reading. Punctuation marks tell us what feeling the author is trying to convey. We will talk about the different punctuation marks, such as the question mark, the period, the exclamation point, and what expressions go with each punctuation mark.
2. I will model a sentence using each punctuation mark and its expression to the class. I will say a sentence using expression and tell the students with punctuation mark would signal that expression. “What a beautiful rainbow!”, is an example of a sentence with an exclamation point at the end, “Come with me.”, uses a period at the end, and “Will you come with me?”, uses a question mark.
3. Pass out cards with punctuation marks on them. Now, as I say a sentence I want you to hold up the punctuation mark that signals that expression. (Teacher makes up sentence with expression)
4. Now, I want you to take out a piece of paper. Write two sentences whose expression would be signaled by an exclamation point. Good Job. Now, write two sentences whose expression would be signaled by a question mark. Okay, now let’s write two sentences whose expression would be signaled by a period.
5. Let’s review how to make an exclamation point (teacher writes “!” on the lined board), a question mark (teacher writes “?” on the board), and a period (teacher writes “.” on the board).
6. Pass out worksheets with sentences with no punctuation marks and have the students write in the appropriate punctuation mark at the end of each sentence.
7. Pass out a copy of No More Water in the Tub to each of the students and have them read it to themselves. Then have the students get a partner and turns reading the book to each other using expressions.
8. For assessment, I will have the students write their own short story using all of the punctuation marks we have learned. I will then have the students come to me individually throughout the day and read their short story to me using expression. I will make a checklist of how well they read each sentence using expression.

Murray, Dr. Bruce. 2001. The Reading Genie Website. www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/breakthroughs/mooregf.html
Eldredge, J. Lloyd. 1995. Teaching Decoding in the Holistic Classrooms, p. 104-107.

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