"How to Get Expert Expressionists"

Annette Lombardi

   Growing Independency and Fluency


Rationale:  One of the last key components needed to be successful in reading achievement is the ability to read expressively.  Once students catch on and
               master how to show expression in the literature they read, this will lead to a deeper appreciation for the story and the characters in it.  In this                          lesson through a teacher's modeling, practice with peers, rereading a text, and assessment from the teacher, students will have a clearer            
                 explanation of how to read expressively.

Materials:  a copy of the book "Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day" by Jamie Lee Curtis - published by Joanna Cotler September 23,                 1998 , a library or a set of various grade level appropriate books in your classroom (the Junie B. Jones set by Barbara Park - published by                          Random House, or the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine - published by Scholastic , etc), and checklists for each group of students, and a writing                 instrument.


            Checklist Questions: 

 ·        My partner's voice changed – after the first time – after the second time

·        My partner used the correct voice each time – after the first time – after the second time

·        I enjoyed hearing my partner read the story – after the first time – after the second time

·        My partner used expression from beginning to end – after the first time – after the second time




  1. Review with your students cross-checking.  Explain that sentences in stories should always make sense.  If they are ever reading a sentence does not make sense and can not figure out a word, they can read the rest of the sentence to try to figure out the correct word on their own. 
  2. Next introduce the idea of reading with expression.  "Good Morning class!  Today we are going to talk about something special you can do when we are reading out loud to ourselves or to an audience.  It is called reading with expression.  Can anyone tell me what they think that means?"  Wait for a few answers or examples, and provide the correct explanation if one is not given.  Explain that you can change your voice high and low, loud and soft, and change it to reflect different emotions that reflect what the characters are going through in the story.   
  3. Then read out aloud a copy of "Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day" by Jamie Lee Curtis.  The first time you read it out loud, read it straight through with a monotone voice and no changes or emotions in your voice.  Ask for your students reactions, see if they stayed interested.  Reread the book aloud and this time give some examples, you can even read some lines the exact opposite that they are supposed to be read to see if your students catch the mistake.  For example read the line, "Today I feel angry" with the biggest smile on your face and in a sing-songy voice.  You can even ask your students to correct the sentence for you so they too model for their fellow students. 
  4. Take your students on a trip to the school library and guide them as they pick out appropriate books, or let them pick out books from your classroom selection.  Next pair the students into groups of two and pass out a checklist to each student to be filled out for their partner.  After everyone is settled, read and explain each question on the checklist.  "I am going to hand out a checklist to everyone.  You are going to mark one for your partner.  So everyone will have one filled out on them."  Make sure your students understand each element and see if they have any questions and answer them.  You can even give good and bad examples of each question on the checklist.  I would have them read a few pages/chapter depending on the length of the book and in regards to time constraints in your schedule.  Then have them read the part of the book multiple times to their partner so they can fill out the checklist accordingly.


Assessment:  Walk around and observe your students and take notes to yourself.  Also take up the checklists and review them.  Then, you can have your students come back to you and read out loud using their new expressive reading skills while you fill out your own checklist!


References:  Murray, Bruce.  The Reading Genie Website: www.auburn.edu/rdggenie

         Keith, Christi.  The Reading Genie Website: 


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