Growing Independence and Fluency Lesson Design
Allison Felton
Reading with Expression is Fun!

Rationale:  In order for children to become more fluent in their reading, they need to learn how to read with expression.  This helps them to better understand and enjoy the text that they are reading.  Many times children can get caught up in simply reading the text correctly, so as a teacher it is vital to teach the importance of reading with expression.  This lesson will focus on this technique of reading instruction.  The children will learn to read with expression through modeling and individual practice with a specific text.

Materials:  Individual copies for each student of Very Boring Alligator (Henry Holt and Company, 2001) by: Jean Gralley; sentence strips with sample sentences; cards with punctuation marks (?; , ; . ; !);
Reading with Expression Evaluation Checklist:
Pitch of voice rose and fell  ___
Tone changed according to punctuation  ___
Pacing sped up and slowed down  ___
Phrasing made sense   ___
Volume became loud and soft  ___

Procedure:
1.  "Today we are going to practice reading with expression.  When we do not do this, our reading becomes very dull and boring.  We want to be expressive readers who enjoy stories and show this enjoyment by the way we read."

2.  "Before we begin, we need to review what to do when a word or phrase that we read does not make sense.  Does anyone know one example of what to do when you have this problem?  Good!  We need to re-read the sentence to see if we can find what doesn't make sense.  What do we need to do next?  Correct!  We need to figure out what gave us a problem and correct it so our sentence can make more sense.   Even while practicing reading with expression, we may find that even punctuation marks can cause the sentence to sound funny.  We always need to work hard at reading any sentence correctly!"

3.  "Okay!  Now I want you to listen to me read part of the book, Very Boring Alligator.  I am not going to read with any expression.  Watch my facial expressions and listen to my tone of voice.  In a minute I want you to tell me how well you liked the story.  (Read the first part of this book.)  Well, what do you think of the book?  It was pretty boring wasn't it.  I bet it was just as boring to listen to as it was for me to read it.  See, reading with expression is fun for the reader as well.  Okay, now I am going to re-read what I already read, but with expression.  When I finish I want you to tell me some techniques I used with my voice to read more expressively."  (The children will note - with my help - that my pitch rose and fell, my volume became louder and softer, my tone of voice changed according to punctuation, my voice sped up and slowed down, and my choice of phrasing made sense.)

4.  "Many times when reading a story, the punctuation helps to determine how we should read each sentence.  (Review what a comma, exclamation mark, question mark, and period mean) Let me show you what I mean.  I am going to pick out of this cup a sentence strip with a sentence on it.  You will notice that it does not have any ending punctuation marks.  Now I am going to choose a punctuation card from this cup.  Whatever card I choose is the punctuation I will use for this sentence.  (I will read a sentence adding a question mark on the end.)  Now I want you to try."  (I will call on students to individually practice picking sentence strips and punctuation cards and reading them together.)

5.  "Now that you have done so well at reading sentences, I want you to try reading the whole book, Very Boring Alligator, using the expression techniques we have discussed.  I want you to each get a partner and practice reading to each other.

Assessment:  I will call on each student individually and ask them to read a page in the book, Very Boring Alligator.  I will use the Reading with Expression Evaluation Checklist as a rubric for their progress.  We will discuss any area of the rubric where they may have had trouble.

References:
*www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/elucid/waltongf.html
     We love to Express Ourselves!  by: Christen Walton
*www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/elucid/crowgf.html
     "Expression Equals Enjoyment"  by:  Meg Crow

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