Wow! Excellent! Oh, Expression!
Growing Independence and Fluency
By Autumn Aldrich
                                                                                              
Rationale:  Now that the children can read on their own they need the tools necessary to enjoy that reading.  Reading with expression is one tool that will make reading a pleasurable and remember able experience.  Through practice and fluency techniques the children can learn to read with expression.   

Materials:  The book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, other books containing many expressive words for the children to pick from, an expressive quality checklist (1st row voice was the same throughout the story and my partner stumbled a little on some of the words, voice moved up and down while reading but all the characters had the same voice, and voice moves up and down and characters all have different voices when my partner read) and chart paper.

Procedures:  1.  Introduce the lesson by reading the Alexander book.  Over emphasize the expressive words.  Ask the children "what did my voice do while I was reading the book?"  Wait for a response and then tell them that  "reading with expression is a part of being a good reader and today we are going to learn how to read with expression.  Learning to read with expression is really very easy.   All you have to do is practice.  Do you believe that I could read that story so well the first time I read it?  Of course not, but I practiced it and then after I learned the characters I could give them each a different voice and an expressive personality".

2.  Write this passage on chart paper;  "I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there's gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day." (Viorst, 1)  Model the process of gaining expression by first reading the passage slowly, tripping over complicated words such as skateboard, and sweater, like the children would.  Read the passage again gaining speed and finally, read the passage with expression using body expressions.         

3.  Have the children pick a book they will read and reread until they have reached the point of expression.  Remind them that when picking a book they should use the two-finger rule.  Read the first page of the book and count the number of words that they cannot read.  If the number is greater than two then the book is too hard for them and they should choose another one.   

4.  Have the children read their books through once aloud at their desks.  Walk around the room helping anyone who needs it and check to see that every student is reading on their independent reading level.  

5.  Have the students get into groups of two.  Give each group an expressive checklist.  Have the children reread their book choices to each other checking off a box on their checklist for each reread.  Continue rereading until the box reading, voice moves up and down and characters all have different voices when my partner read.     
 
6.  Assessment.  Once the children have reached the final box on the checklist (voice moves up and down and characters all have different voices when my partner read) have the student read the book to you, then offer to let the child read to the class (only if the child wants to).

Reference:  Hayles, Tina. Lights, Camera, and Action.                                                                                                                                                                                                 <http:www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/illum/haylesgf>

                  Viorst, Judith Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day.
                             Aladdin Library, 1987.