Melissa Parrish
Growing Independence & Fluency Design

Use Expression!

Rationale:  Fluency may not come easily for beginning readers.  Initially children may sound choppy, using a great deal of effort. Fluency leads to greater comprehension and automaticity.  Fluency is a key ingredient to being a skillful reader.  In this lesson, students will be taught how to read with expression and then have a chance to practice their new information.

Materials:  Blackboard, chalk, sentences written by the teacher, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, 1 copy of Bo and the Rose for each student, Assessment checklist for each student

Sample Sentences:     I love strawberry ice cream!
                                    Ouch, that hurts!
                                    Do you like to swim?
                                    Have you ever eaten a pineapple?
                                    I can’t wait to go to the beach!

Sample Checklist:    Does the student change his or her voice to high or low?
                                  Does the student change his or her voice to loud or soft?
                                  Does the child change the inflection in his or her voice according to the end punctuation mark?
                                  Is there a distinctive difference when the child reads with expression rather than reading with no expression?

1. The teacher will begin by sharing about expressive reading with the students.  When we read with expression, we have to change our voices to show emotion and let listeners know what is happening in the story.  We do this by lowering or making our voices higher.  We can also speak really soft or very loudly to show emotion. The teacher will also share why we read with expression.  Do you think that you would enjoy a story that was read without feeling?  (The teacher will demonstrate by reading a sentence with no expression or emotion)  No!  Reading with expression makes the story fun and interesting!
2. Now I will read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day! If you hear me using good expression and emotion I want you to hold both thumbs up, if you think I am reading with no expression and very plain then hold both thumbs down.  The teacher will read a few sentences without expression then change and read with great expression.  This will show the students what a big difference it makes when someone reads with expression.
3. Now I will write several sentences on the board.  I want a volunteer to read that sentence with no emotion then reread it with the expression that they think is needed to make the sentence make sense.  I will do the first one with you.  Ex. I love to go fishing.  The teacher will read the first time with no emotion or expression then reread with great expression and exclamation.
4. Next the teacher will review with the class about punctuation marks and the feelings associated with them.  The teacher will explain how a person might change their voice in different ways to read a sentence with a question mark or exclamation point.  There will be a class discussion and several examples given by both the students and the teacher.
5. Now we will be reading a book called Bo and the Rose.  Book Talk: “I know that some of you have pets at home that you love very much.  Rose, the little girl in this story, has a pet too and its name is Bo.  Bo is a goat.  Bo loves Rose very much, but hates being tied up.  So Bo chews his way out of the rope.  Something could happen to Bo if Rose does not find him.  I wonder if Bo will be okay or if Rose will have to buy a new pet goat?  Let’s read and find out!”
6. The teacher will ask the students to pull out their copies of Bo and the Rose.  I want each of you to read silently for a few minutes until I say stop.  If you finish the story before I call time, reread it.  Okay, read!  After the students have read the story at least once, then the class will be divided into pairs.  The students will take turns reading the story to one another, practicing using expression and paying attention to punctuation marks.  

Assessment: The teacher will walk around to each pair of students and answer the checklist for each student.  The teacher will be available to give advice and answer any questions the students might have about fluency and reading with expression.

Reference: Expression Direction by Emily Borders

Viorst, Judith. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks. 1987.

Bo and the Rose. Educational Insights:  Carson, CA. 1990.

Click here to return to Innovations