EXPRESSION I hear?
The goal of reading is comprehension. In order for a reader to read for
comprehension they must be fluent. A key indicator of a fluent
reader is the ability to read with expression. Reading with expression
makes the text being read come alive! Students should be able to read
expressively aloud and silently. In this lesson students will recognize
and demonstrate expression in a read aloud and through writing enabling
students to apply knowledge learned from reading to writing.
One copy of Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late (Williams,
Mo. Hyperion. 2006), White board and markers, Sentence strips with
sentences from made-up story to be used for practice read aloud with
expression. (See story within procedures below), Cut-outs of
punctuation marks to use with sentences, Copy of poem, "Don't Tell Me
That I Talk Too Much!" (Spilka, Arnold. Random House. New York.1983)
for each student, Checklist below for each student to be used for
Primary paper and pencil for writing activity, and Checklist below for
each child to be used by teacher for writing assessment:
- Does your partner's voice go high or low as he or she is
- Does your partner change his or her voice to loud or soft?
- Does your partner's voice change reflect the end punctuation mark?
- Does your partner's voice stay the same as he or she is reading
- Does the student's writing show understanding of punctuation?
- Does student demonstrate ability to connect expression to
- Does student use punctuation appropriately?
- Today, we are going to work on reading expressively. Expression
is the way your voice naturally moves up and down when you talk.
Reading with expression means that we use our voice to make the text
being read come alive for our audience and ourselves. We are going to
have our own chance to read expressively today, so let's get
- Ask students: Have you ever heard someone read a story to you and
you felt like you were really there with the characters? Maybe the
character was sad and you felt sad because the person reading read like
they were sad. They were reading expressively! But maybe you heard
someone else read the same story and you did not feel sad because they
did not read with expression. Let me show you (model for students
by reading a sentence without using expression, then model the same
sentence using expression. Read this sentence first with a monotone
voice. I had a fever of 103! Then read it and emphasis the the number
103. Say: I had a fever of 1----0----3!!!) Now, can you tell me what
was different about the second time I read the sentence? I want
everyone to repeat after me acting as if they are shocked or surprised
that they have a high fever of 103. (Allow time for students to repeat
this two times.)
- Let's look at some sentences that tell a story and pay attention
to the punctuation marks. The punctuation mark in a sentence tells us
how to read that sentence. If we see an exclamation mark at the end of
a sentence we may read it as if we are excited or surprised.
(Example story to be written on sentence strips. Note that each slash=
end of sentence strip and beginning of a new one): Matt got a new red
bike for his birthday./ He was so excited!/ He had always wanted a red
bike./ His little brother was mad he did not get a bike too./ He asked
his mother, "Why did I not get a bike?"/ His mother told him he was
old enough to ride by himself./ Matt's little brother was sad.) Now, we
are going to read a story I want you to listen as I read with
expression. Another way to think about expression is reading with your
emotions like happy, sad, mad, excited.
- Introduce Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late with a book talk.
"Have your parents ever told you that you could not stay up late?
Well this story is about a pigeon who is not allowed to stay up.
Do you think he is going to be happy about having to go to bed? I need
your help to make sure the Pigeon does not stay up. Let's read
and find out." Remind students to listen for expression as you
- Since you have had a chance to hear expressive reading, I want
you to work with a partner to read a poem expressively. We are going to
work on this poem for a couple of days to memorize it and read it from
memory to our partner using expression. Today is the first day we are
looking at this poem. You will not know it from memory today. (Break
students up into pairs; hand out checklists for students to use when
listening to their partner. Explain checklist to students. Hand out
poem "Don't Tell Me That I Talk Too Much!" By Arnold Splika. Students
will read it silently twice to themselves, then take turns reading to
each other using checklists for peer assessment.) Remember that reading
with expression can mean reading with our emotions. Listen for changes
in your partner's voice. Does it get higher or lower as they read at
certain parts? Softer or louder?
- After students read aloud expressively in pairs, introduce using
expression in writing. Students will use primary paper and a pencil to
write at least three sentences on their paper showing emotion. (Model
on chart with primary paper and cut out punctuation marks. Ex. That man
stole my wallet!) Write the sentence on the primary chart paper and
then have students decide what punctuation mark should be used.
Students will work on this task independently. Remind students that
punctuation marks tell us about the emotion or expression that should
be used to read a sentence.
- For assessment, students will be assessed on the checklist from
paired reading of poem. See materials for checklist. Second part of the
assessment will be examining students writing. I will use a checklist
also listed in the materials section.
Haffarnan, Jessi. "Watch Out! We are Reading with Expression!" 2006.
Crump, Amy. "If You're Happy and You Know It Show
Wallace, Jessica. "Get Excited, Get Mad, Show Emotion!" 2006.
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