Express Yourself
By: Shea Fant

Rationale: Reading fluently is crucial in improving reading skills.  There are 4 factors that
need to be mastered which are reading smoothly, reading silently, reading expressively, and speed reading.  Although many of these factors will be mastered in time, sometimes it is best to go ahead and demonstrate how to do these things.  The goal of this lesson is to teach children to read with expressively by using their voices in different ways, such as by changing the tone and pitch.
Materials:  A short passage to read for demonstration like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” Chart paper or have a chalkboard or wipe off board to make the chart, a Federal “Express” box, sentence strips with a variety of sentences that can be read with many different types of expression like, Why do you think the sky is blue or He opened the closet door and BOO!!! , out popped his brother., tape or something to sick the sentence strips on the chart with, age appropriate books  (Dr. Seus has good books availiable to be read with expression, but you may want to choose something a littlw shorter for them to read in their partner groups), age appropriate paper and writing utencils
Procedure:
1. I will begin the lesson by saying the sentence “Have a good day,” once with happy expression with changes in my voice and once with no expression and in a very monotone voice.  “Boys and girls which time when I said have a good day, were you convinced that I wanted you to have a good day?”  ( The first!)  “What did I use/change to convince you?” (My Voice!)  “  This is what we are going to do today boys and girls, we are going to use our voices to demonstrate expression as we read.”
2. I will then read a short passage to them that they will read a long with me silently from the board.  I will read “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”  I will read the whole passage with a lot of expression in order to model how to read with expression.  For example, I will make my voice sound like I am pondering something or unsure of something when I read “How I wonder what you are?”  Or when I use words like above or high, I will make the pitch of my voice go up.  We will then analyze the different things I have done with my voice.
3. We will then make a chart of different things we can do with our voice to read with expression.  The children can use some of the ideas we discussed in step 2 from what I did when I read in order to get them started.  The list may include things such as raise voice gradually or get real soft with your voice and then shout.
4.  From this list we will make a chart.  In a Federal “Express” Box I will have some sentence strips for the children to pull out of the box and read.  The children will have to read the sentence with expression and then place it under the way we listed earlier that they used when they read with expression.  For example one category may be voice gradually gets softer, another may be sudden loud burst.  So if the child reads the sentence, He opened the closet door and BOO!!! , out popped his brother. This would be placed under the sudden loud burst category.  Every child will have a turn.
5.  For review and extra practice, I will have the children to pair up in-groups of two.  They will choose an                 age appropriate book that each child will read to his/her partner.  I will then rotate around to each group and make suggestions and encourage with praise.  This will give the children a more independent feeling because I will not be monitoring every word and they will be held accountable for each other’s actions and improvements.  Yet I will be close by for assistance and they have to stay on task because they will not know exactly which group I am monitoring, when.
6.  We are going to do an oral assessment.  First of all each child will choose one sentence out of the book he/she just read and write it on age appropriate paper.  Once they have written their sentence, we will return to the group circle with their sentence.  I will then tell the children that we will give thumbs up if they read with expression and a thumbs down if they do not read with expression.  I will tell each student that reads whether to read with or without expression.  “Boys and Girls after I call you up here to read your sentence I will tell you which way to read your sentence, with or without expression.  Do not put your thumb up or down until I give you the signal.  When one of your classmates begins to read the sentence you must close your eyes with NO PEAKING!, and when I say VOTE!, this means put your thumb up or down  to show how you think they read.  Once every one votes I will say Open! and then I will reveal the answer to you with my thumb!  OK, who wants to be my first reader?…”

Reference:  Adams, Marilyn.  Beginning To Read . 1990.  Center for the Study of Reading.

 Click here to return to Insights