"It's all about EXPRESSION!"

Growing Independence and Fluency Design
By, Rebecca Creecy

Rationale:  Fluency is a key to becoming a better reader.  One of the five components of reading fluency is reading with expression.  Reading with expression involves changing the speed, volume, or pitch of your voice.  It is important for children to learn to read with expression, because they gain a better understanding of the material that they are reading.  In this lesson the children will learn this concept by watching me model fluent and expressive reading.  Then they will have the opportunity to practice reading with expression with a partner.
    
Materials:  Chalk for chalkboard; Goldilocks and the Three Bears; a variety of age appropriate decodable books for each student in the class to choose from, paper and pencils for each child.   

Procedures:

1.    "Today we are going to focus on reading with expression.  When we read with expression it makes a story much more enjoyable.  If we do not read with expression a story is usually dull and boring.  Reading with expression can help you to easily understand a story.  Also, if you are reading to other people, they will enjoy listening more if you read expressively."  

2.    "Does anyone know what the word expression means?  You're right, it is a way that we can change our voices to make our reading more exciting.  Some ways that we can do this is by paying attention to the character that is speaking.  If it is a dad, we can use a deep voice and if it is a baby we can use a high voice.  We can also change the speed by reading faster when something exciting is about to happen or slower if something sad is happening."

3.    "Now I am going to read you a story about three bears that decide to go for a walk in the woods.  But, when they get back they discover that someone has been in their house.  We are going to have to read to find out who it is and what happens.  I want you all to pay close attention to how I read the book.  (I will model reading the first 2 pages of Goldilocks and the Three Bears without using expression.)  When I read the story did it sound very exciting?  NO?!  Why not?  What should I do next time to make it sound more exciting?  (I will make a list of the children's answers on the board.  Ex. Talk with a deep voice for Papa Bear)."  

4.    "Now I will reread the story using the suggestions that you all gave me.  (Read the story).  Did you like the way I read the story the first time or the second time better?  The second…why?  Can you give me some examples of ways that I made the reading more expressive?"

5.    "Now I am going to assign you all a partner.  I want you and your partner to choose one of these books to read to each other.  When you read the book to your partner, I want you to practice reading with expression.  You can use cover-ups if you are having trouble with any words that you do not know.  Remember cover-ups are when you cover up parts of words until you can figure it out.  The person who is not reading will be making a list of ways that you were reading with expression and suggestions for improvement.  When both of you have read the book, you will each reread the book and use the suggestions that you have written on your list to continue practicing reading with expression."

6.    (Once everyone is finished, I will have the groups come up to the front of the class one at a time to model reading their book with expression to their classmates.)  "I want everyone to pay close attention to your classmates so that you can hear the expressions that they use when they are reading."  (When they have finished reading their book I will ask the other classmates to point out some of the expressions that they noticed while listening to the book.)  "You all did a fantastic job of reading with expressions!  Do you all see how it makes a story much more interesting and fun?"

7.    Assessment:  I will ask each child to choose another book to read and then make a list of suggestions for expressions – like they did earlier in class.  When they have finished, I will call on each student one at a time to come up to my desk and show me their list and then have them read their book using their list of expressions.  This will help me to see if the child understands the concept of reading with expression.  Also, it will allow me to work with them one on one and give them feedback to what is working well and what they might could add to their lists.
       
References:

http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/inroads/knightgf.html ("Loving to Read While
    Learning to Express" by, Sara Knight)

Ransom, Candice.  Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  McGraw-Hill.  Bryant, Laura J.  


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