Let's Show Some Expression
Growing Independence and Literacy
Larkin Ade

Rationale: An important aspect of reading fluently is reading with expression. To read with expression one must change the speed, pitch or volume of their voice to enhance attention and understanding of the text. This lesson will allow children to practice reading with expression.

Materials: Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina, published by Scholastic Inc.; samples of decodable books, such as A Cat Nap and Bud the Sub by Educational Insights; Reading assessment checklist (example - Does the child read slow in parts and fast in parts as appropriate? Does the child change voices when there is dialogue ? higher or lower? Louder or softer? Does the child speak in smooth, connected sentences, or do they spend too much time on isolated words?)

1. "Before we learn about expression, we are going to review last weeks lesson about figuring out an unknown word.  What did we use?  That is right, we used cover-ups.  Ok everyone see the word on the board, joyful.  Watch as I cover up the chunks and slowly decode it.  (I will model decoding joyful with the class)"
2. From the first page of Caps for Sale, read a paragraph.   The first time you read it, read it in a steady monotone voice, without taking any pauses. "Now, I want everyone to listen as I reread the same paragraph and see if you can hear a difference in my voice." For the second time, read the same paragraph as read before but read it with expression, vary in loudness and softness, use high and low voices, and pause when needed.
3.  "Now I want everyone to tell me did you like the first way I read the paragraph or the second way I read the paragraph better? Wonderful, everyone liked the second way better. I want you each to tell me of why you liked the second way better." As the students tell their reasons, write a few of their comments on the board.   Review with the children, "When we make our voice loud or soft, fast or slow, high or low as we read, that is what we call reading with expression. Who all has heard the word expression before? Today, as we read, we are going to work on how we can read expressively.
4. Read the whole book Caps for Sale out loud to the class.   Once you have read the second page, and applied different voices have been applied to the different characters (narrator and the peddler), with lots of expression shown, ask the class if they noticed the different expressions used.
5. Ask the children "What were the two different voices I used? Which one spoke slower but louder? Right, the narrator. Which character spoke fast and soft? You got it, the peddler. Why do you think I made the voices that way when I read? If the narrator was telling the story, should he have had a deeper, slower voice? And what about the peddler, since he was taking a walk, should he have a higher, faster voice.  When the peddler realized the monkeys had taken his hats, and he demanded them back, his voice got angrier. Didn't it?"
6. Divide the children into groups of four.  Each child should take turns reading to the group from the Educational Insights books demonstrating expression. "Once each of you have read the book once, read it a second time to the group with expression again. I will be walking around noticing how everyone is reading expressively."
7. After handing out the books, walk around the room observing each child reading expressively.  Compare progress with Reading Assessment checklist for Expression

 Adams, Marilyn. Beginning to Read. 1990. Pp. 90-92.

www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/elucid/kstarrgf.html ­ Kelly Starr. "Come with me to Read Expressively"

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina, Scholastic Inc. publishers, 1968.

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