Growing Independence and Fluency

Loud or soft?  Quick or slow?
 Mary Rouse

Rationale:  Beginner readers have to devote the majority of their attention to decoding words.  As readers become better decoders it is important that they learn how to become faster, smoother, and more expressive readers.  They should be able to read silently as well as out loud.  The more children read the easier the process will become.  The easier it is the more a child will want to spend their leisure time reading a good book.  This lesson will encourage children to use expression while reading through demonstration and practice.

Materials: a short exciting newspaper article, basal readers (even if children are on different reading levels they can still read what they have been reading from in their reading groups), ãstuck on a word?ä bookmarks, slips of paper with different expressive sentences on each slip

1.  Have you ever listened to a really good storyteller?  What about her telling of the story made it so interesting?  Raise your hand if you remember.  (As children respond write their responses on the board)  Reading a story is similar to telling a story.  While reading it is very important to use lots of expression to keep your audience's attention.  Today we are going to talk about two different ways of using more expression in your reading.
2. I am going to demonstrate an expressive reader and a non expressive reader.  Pay close attention to the difference.  (Read part of an article of a newspaper with expression and part without expression)  Which part did you want to listen to more?  Why?  (discuss the differences)
3. To be an expressive reader you do not have to know every word.  I have been reading for years and I am still learning new words.  It is important to remember what to do when you get stuck on a word.  First take a shot.  You can cover up part of it to make it easier to sound out.  Second you can read the rest.  Read to the end of the sentence to see what would make sense.  Remember you can change a guess to fit the sentence.  If you still do not know the word read it again.  You can start the sentence over to get back into the story.  I am going to pass out bookmarks with the different things you can do when you get stuck on a word.
4. The volume of your voice can create a lot of expression.  Who can tell me what volume is?  Volume is how loud or soft your voice is when you read.  If you talk real quietly the audience strains to listen in suspense to what is going to happen.  As the reader gets louder it creates more excitement.  What are some other messages that the volume of your voice can send out to your audience?  (write responses on the board)
5. I would like everyone to turn to the person to your left.  This person will be your reading partner.  I would like for each one of you to have a turn to read with expression to your partner.  I want you to concentrate on the volume of your voice.  Everyone can read something in his or her reading book.  (walk around and listen to the children reading.  Pick a child who is reading with lots of expression- esp. with volume) While I was walking around I heard _____________ read with a lot of expression.  Would you please read a little bit to the class using that same great expression.
6. A second way of using expression is to change the speed that you read.  If I read real slowly it can make you think of being sleepy or sad.  If I gain speed it will make you think of being excited or nervous.  Can anyone think of any other ways that the speed of your voice can make listeners feel?  (write responses on the board)
7. I would like for you to turn back to your partner and continue reading in your reading book.  This time I want you to not only concentrate on volume but also on speed.  I am going to be listening for some expressive readers.  (allow children to read)  I heard ___________ reading with so much expression.  Would you please stand up and read to the class so that they can hear your nice expression using volume and speed.
8. For assessment:  I am going to pass out to everyone a slip of paper with some sentences on it.   As I call your name I would like for each person to stand up and read their sentences with a lot of expression.  (discuss how each child uses different kinds of expression)

Reference:  Allen, R.V. (1976). Language experiences in communication.  Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

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