Express Your Reading
By: Amy Spurlock

Rationale:  In order for children to become better readers they must learn to read fluently.  Reading fluently includes reading smoothly, reading expressively, reading silently, and speed reading.  This lesson will help the children learn to read with expression.  The children will become aware of how changing the loudness/softness of your voice affects reading.

Materials:  Chalk, Chalkboard, one copy of The Three Little Pigs, enough age-appropriate decodable books for each student in the class to have (they must be books that can be read with expression.), a sheet of paper for each child to write on.

Procedure:
1. Start lesson by explaining to the children that it is a wonderful thing that we can all read books.  But, that there are some things we can do to become better readers.  “One thing we can do while reading is to read with expression.”  “Can anyone tell me what expression means?”  “That is right, it means making the way we read more interesting for the people who are listening to us.”  “Some ways of expressing our reading voice is changing how loud or soft our voice is, changing how fast we read or changing the pitch of our voice.”  “Today we are going to practice these different ways of expressing our reading.”
2. Ask the students: “Has anyone ever heard someone read a story that was really exciting because of their expressive voice?”  Explain to the children that the reader may have made the story exciting because of the different reading expressions they used such as a voice change or how fast or slow the reader read the story.
3. Then take out a book such as The Three Little Pigs and model reading to the children without using expression and tell the children to pay attention to how it sounds.  “Did the story sound exciting?”  (Children respond) “How can I make it more exciting?”  Make a list on the board with the children.  Let them tell the teacher what expression you can make and where in the story to make it.
4. When you are done making the list, reread The Three Little Pigs.  When rereading the book model how to use the expressions on the board.  When done rereading ask the children which version of the story sounded better, the first time with no expression, or the second time with all the expressions they said to use.
5. When done rereading The Three Little Pigs group the children in two’s.  “When I put you with a partner I will give you a book.”  Give each group a different age appropriate book so that each group is not reading the same book.  “I want each person to read the book that I gave you to your partner without using expression.”  “Remember if you have trouble reading it you can use cover-ups to figure out the word you do not know.”  “When you are done reading the book I want you and your partner to make a list on a sheet of paper of the different expressions you can make and where you can make them in the story, just as we did on the board.”  When the children are done making the list they then reread the book using the expressions they have on the list.
6. When they are done have each group come to the front of the class and read their book using expression.  “Everyone needs to sit quietly to see if you can hear the expressions your classmate is making while reading their book.”  When they are done reading they should show the class the list of reading expressions they made.  “You all did a wonderful job using reading expressions to make your story more exciting.”
7. For assessment have a shelf of age appropriate books that each child can read.  Have each child get a book of their choice that they want to read.  Tell them to read it and make their own list of expressions (just like we did earlier.)  When they are done have different children come up to your desk at different times of the day to read their book using the expressions on their list.  If the child needs help then the teacher can help him/her.  By doing this the teacher can determine if each child is understanding the reading expression lesson.

Reference:  Marilyn Adams, Beginning To Read; 1990
 
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