Get Excited About Expression

 Growing Independence and Fluency

 Lindsay Boshell


Rationale: To be a good reader, a student must become both independent and fluent.  Reading fluency is the ability to recognize words, accurately, rapidly, and automatically. After a student has become fluent, then they need to learn to read with expression and enthusiasm. As children learn to read expressively, they gain a more in depth understanding of the text and come to the realization that reading is fun.  In this lesson, students will practice reading with expression so that they will become more creative and eager readers.



 Caps for Sale: A tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business by Esphyr Slobodkina, published by Scholastic Inc. New York: 1999. (Enough copies for each student and the teacher)

 Writing journals

 Reading with Expression Evaluation Sheet:

1) Does my partner change their voice to make the story interesting?

2) Did my partner make the story sound interesting?

3) What happened in the story?

4) How did my aprtner's voice change to let me know there was expression?  ex.  loud for excitement or soft for quiet



 1.  Boys and girls, who likes to be read to?  That’s right, everyone likes to be read to.  Well, I am going to read to you today. I am going to read to you a few sentences from Caps For Sale.  Is everybody ready to listen?  Good!!  (The teacher will read a few pages in a very monotone voice using no expression.)  Does everybody like this book, does it sound very interesting?  Now I am going to read the same sentences, but in a different way. (Teacher rereads the same passage, but with expression.)  Who likes this story after I read it the second time?  I read the same sentences, what was different?  Students will describe what they heard differently and why they like it more.      

2.  The teacher will explain to the students that when they read a story to someone, the person listening gets interested when you change the tone of your voice to reflect the actions that are occurring in the story.  Everyone said that the second way I read was much better than the first.  That is because I read the second time with expression.  For example, when something scary is happening, let your voice get quiet and mysterious or when something exciting is happening let your voice get louder and more excited.

3.  Now I am going to read the same sentences again with expression.  I want you to pay attention to my expression and my facial expressions.  (The teacher reads the same sentences as before with expression and uses different facial expressions.)  Who liked the way that I read that time?  I really liked that way too!! What did you notice about my expressions?  (Let the students give a variety of answers about expression and notice if they mention facial expressions.) Did anyone notice facial expressions?  Good!  Using facial expressions along with using your expressive voice makes the story very interesting.

4.  The teacher will distribute the books to the class.  Now, we are going to read our books silently.  I want you to read the book two times.  The first time I want you to read the book for fun.  The second time, I want you to think about how you would read the book to someone else in a way that it would be interesting to him or her.  Think about when you would read fast or slow or soft or loud.  Now, is everybody ready to read?  Good!! Let’s get started!!!

5. Now we are going to practice reading Caps For Sale with expression to each other.  I want everybody to get a partner and take turns reading your book.  I am also going to give you a
Reading with Expression Evaluation sheet.  As your partner reads, I want you to fill out the sheet to see if they are reading with expression.  (The teacher will read the questions to the class before beginning to make sure everyone understands.)  Does anyone have any other questions about the sheet or about reading with expression?  Okay, lets get started being expressive and excited readers.

6.  Have the students return to their normal seats and get out their writing journals.  Now in your journal I want you to write about reading with expression.  And I want you to tell me what happened in the book we all read today.  If you want to, you can draw a picture when you finish writing about the story or someone reading with expression.

7.  Assessment:
While the students are writing in their journals, the teacher will have each student come up and read their favorite passage in the book with expression and assess their reading.  Also, the journal entries will be an assessment of what they learned about expression and also story comprehension.  



Eldredge, J. L. (1995). Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  Prentice Hall, Inc. 168.

Francis, Amberlyn. CCCaps For Sale.

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