Rationale: Fluency is a very important part of reading. Fluency includes the ability to recognize words quickly, accurately, and automatically. Another important aspect of fluency is reading with expression. Oral language is a wonderful way for children to develop expression. As they read independently or hear written language read aloud, they become aware of the way written language “sounds”. This awareness of expression has even been shown to aid in comprehension. Expression also demonstrates an excitement about reading. The purpose of this lesson is to help students become aware of expression in their reading. The children will watch as I demonstrate expression during a read aloud, and then they will have the opportunity to practice expression with a partner.
Materials: Funny Talk & More, Poems Selected By: Anne Hanzi & Yevonne Pollock, Bookshelf Series, Scholastic, Inc., 1986 (one copy for teacher to read aloud); Anansi’s Narrow Waist, Retold by Len Cabral, Little Celebrations Series, Scott, Foresman, and Company, 1993 (one copy per student); partner evaluation sheets (one per student, see below); teacher observation sheet (see below); 2 cards per student (one with a question mark and one with an exclamation point); dry erase board and marker.
2nd 3rd My partner did a great job on:
___ ___ Remembered more words ________________________
___ ___ Read faster ________________________
___ ___ Read smoother ________________________
___ ___ Read with expression ________________________
Teacher Observation Notes for: ____________________________
Read smoothly: 3 2 1
Higher/lower 3 2 1
Faster/slower 3 2 1
Louder/softer 3 2 1
Additional Comments: ______________________________
1. Introduce the lesson to students: “Good morning, boys and girls. Today we are doing to be talking about reading with expression. Expression helps make reading more interesting and exciting. It may seem rather difficult right now, but the more you practice reading, the easier it will become. We are going to be working together today and practicing using expression!”
2. Review the fluency formula: “We have talked about decoding words we don’t know and how sometimes we must go back and reread a sentence when a word doesn’t make sense. Let’s remember these steps as we practice today. Sometimes we have to reread when using expression, too! When this happens, oftentimes we did not pay attention to the punctuation.” Let’s practice reading with expression using the punctuation.
3. Practice with punctuation: “Can someone please raise their hand and remind me when we use a question mark?” (Call on student to explain that question marks are used when asking a question.) “Exactly, we use them when we ask a question. What does an exclamation point mean?” (call on student to answer.) “Very good! It’s the symbol we use at the end of a sentence when a person says something with excitement.” Now we are going to practice. I am going to read this sentence using two different expressions. I am also going to give you two cards. One has a question mark on it and the other has an exclamation point on it. When I read this sentence, you are going to hold up the card that has the punctuation we should put at the end of the sentence. Remember you have to be good listeners, being sure to pay attention to my expression when I read. It will be your only clue to know which card to hold up. Ready?” Read sentence on white board (Maggie went to the park) twice. The first time read as a question (Maggie went to the park?) and the second time read as an exclamation (Maggie went to the park!). Have children hold up the appropriate card and discuss the expression in the teacher’s voice and the clues the children used to get their answer.
4. Read Aloud: “That was wonderful! Now everyone is going to listen to me, as I read some poems from the book Funny Talk & More. I will read each one twice. The first time I am going to pretend I am a robot and read it very SL…OOOO..W…LY and without expression. The second time I am going to read with expression. Be good listeners and see if you can tell the difference.” Read and then discuss with the students which style they liked better. Emphasize by saying “See, reading with expression is much more fun! Everyone likes to listen because it is easier to understand and a lot more interesting!”
5. Reading with a partner: “Now you are going to practice with a partner. I am going to give each person a copy of the book Anansi’s Narrow Waist and a check sheet. One person will read while the other person listens. You will each read the book three times. After the second and third time of reading, your partner will fill out the check sheet. Try and make each time a little better than the one before it. Remember to watch for question marks and exclamation points to tell you how you should express the words as you say them. At the end, your partner will write you a little message telling you something you did during reading that was great! Make sure your messages to each other are good things! I am going to come around and listen in while you read and take some notes. Then this afternoon, you and I will talk about your reading separately. Let’s begin!”
6. Assessment: While students are reading together,
the teacher will walk around with her assessment sheet and take notes on
each child’s reading. A teacher-student mini-conference will then
occur later that afternoon to discuss the child’s progress. Any areas
where the child was lacking will be modeled again by the teacher.
In this meeting, the teacher should also encourage the students to voluntarily
read during their free time to improve fluency.
Fountas, Irene C. and Gay Su Pinnell. Guided Reading: Good
First Teaching for All Children. Heinemann: Portsmouth,
Murray, Dr. Bruce. "Developing Reading Fluency". Auburn
Walton, Christen. "We Love to Express Ourselves!" Auburn
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