Expressing Your Reading

Growing Independence and Fluency

Courtney Hill

Rationale: It is important for children to learn to read with expression so that it will be easier to comprehend what is being read. Before children can learn to read more expressively they must learn how to identify punctuation marks and the expression that each one stands for. In this lesson we will learn to read how to identify the expression that specific punctuation marks represent so that they will be able to demonstrate feeling as they read. As children master this skill they will be able to have a better comprehension in what they are reading and fell more confident in themselves.

Materials: Paper, pencils, chalk, chalkboard, book, chart paper, The book What Will the Seal Eat? Cards with punctuation marks on them, sample checklist


1.      Introduce the lesson by explaining that "in written language there are certain punctuation marks that tell us what expression to make while reading. Punctuation marks tell us what feeling the author is trying to convey. This will help you have a better understanding of what you are reading."

2.      Can anyone give me an example of a way we can express our reading voice? Good Job! We can change our voice to make it louder or softer, or we can change the pitch of our voice. Today we are going to practice using different types of expressions.

3.      Now I am going to write some sentences on the board and I want someone to read the sentence first without any expression and then with expression. Ex: I love reading; the children will one at a time volunteer to read the sentence with and without expression. Great Job!

4.      Now I am going to review with the students the use of different punctuation marks at the end of sentences. I will review question marks, exclamation points and periods and how expression changes when using different punctuation marks. On chart paper there will be sentences written down using different punctuation marks, as a class we will review the sentences and discuss the difference in the punctuation marks being used and why that punctuation mark is used with that particular sentence.

5.      Then I will pass out cards with different punctuation marks. I am going to say some sentences, as I say the sentences I want you to hold up your punctuation mark that signals that expression. Ex: (teacher makes up sentences with expression)

6.      Next I will pass out worksheets with sentence with no punctuation mark at the end. I will have the students to write in the appropriate punctuation mark at the end of each sentence.

7.      Finally I will have everyone to read What Will the Seal? Eat By Sheila Cushman to themselves. We will discuss the story as a class. I will then have students to come up to the board and write the sentences on the board that uses strong expression.

 Assessment: For assessment I will have each student to out a piece of paper and write down two sentences that would be signaled by a question mark. Now write two sentences that would be signaled by an exclamation point. When they finish completing their sentences I will have each student to come to my desk and read me their sentences using expression.

References: Adams, Marilyn Jager. Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print. Reading Research and Education Center, Illinois. 1990.

Strickland, Amy. Express Yourself.

Cushman, Sheila. What Will the Seal Eat? Educational Insights. Carson, Ca (1999).
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