Don’t Be Sick of
Reading with Expression!

Growing Independence and Fluency

Shannon Ritter


 Reading with fluency is the ability to recognize words accurately and quickly. Once children have accomplished this task, it is important that they are able to master the task of reading with expression. This lesson is designed to show the importance of reading with expression and to show children how and why they should read with expression. It is important that as children read either silently or out loud, that they read with expression. The following lesson will enable children to hear a model of reading with expression, as well as provide an opportunity for them to practice reading with expression.


Chalkboard, chalk, copy of "Bully" by Judith Caseley, copies of "Sick" poem by Shel Silverstein from Where the Sidewalk Ends, assessment check sheet (attached)



  1. Begin by reading "Bully" by Judith Caseley with a lot of expression to the class. "Today we will be learning about reading with expression. It is important that as we read that we use expression in our voices. This means that if a character is sad, read like you are upset and show it in the tone of your voice and in your face. This is important that we do this because we want each other to understand how the characters are feeling during the story or poems we read."
  2. Review sentence structure and reading sentences as this time during the lesson. Children will be reminded about the important aspects of a sentence. This will include the capital letter at the beginning of each sentence, reading left to right, as well as reading from the top of the page to the bottom of the page. This would also be a good time to remind children how to cross check their words as they read. "Boys and girls when you have a hard time reading a word remember that you should first try and say the word, then finish the sentence, then go back if the word does not make sense to you… just remember that reading with expression help stories make a lot more sense."
  3. "Punctuation in a story helps us to read with expression. It helps us to know what kind of expression we should use when we are reading." Review question marks and exclamation marks with students. "We are going to review the question mark and the exclamation mark. If you saw a sentence that ended in a question mark the character is asking a question. How would that sound if someone was asking a question?"(Children will respond, allowing class involvement). "If a sentence ended with an exclamation mark, the characters are feeling very excited… how would that sound if there was an exclamation point at the end of the sentence?"
  4. Read aloud the "Bully" poem twice with expression and once without expression. Have students notice differences between the two readings. Have a class vote as to what reading they liked better.
  5. Each student will be paired with another student in the classroom. Pass out copies out the "Sick" poem. Have students practice reading to one another with expression. "I want each partner to practice reading with expression to one another. Remember….exclamation points mean they are very excited and that question marks mean the character is asking questions. Have fun and don’t be SICK of reading with expression…its fun!"



  1. For assessment , students will read to their partner as the teacher walks from partner to partner evaluating their ability to grasp the concept of expression. The teacher will do a checklist on each child. After the lesson, the teacher will have a quick conference with each child to review their progress. If the students did not do well, the teacher will work one on one with the student.


Boom with expression! Growing Independency and Fluency – Misty Willoughby

    Expression is key. Growing Independency and Fluency – Melinda Mc Donald

      Adams, Marilyn. Beginning to read: Thinking and Learning about Print



Expression Checklist
  1. Did the child’s voice change when they read? Yes or No
  2. Is the child enjoying the book? Yes or No
  3. Did the child read the book to make their partner enjoy it? Yes or No
  4. Did the child have different expressions on his/her face when reading the book? Yes or No

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