Express Yourself!
happy cartoon
Maggie Saye
Growing Independence and Fluency Plan

Rationale: Fluency is a skill that is vital for students to become successful readers.  Fluency has a few components: reading quickly (faster than beginning readers), reading with accuracy and automaticity, being able to read silently, being able to read voluntarily, reading smoothly, and reading with expression. My lesson focuses on reading with expression. This is a very important part of fluency and makes the language of a book come alive to the reader because it actually sounds how we would speak it. My students will learn to use expression in their reading by listening for expression in text, practicing how to use expression in sentences, and by practicing using expression in reading a book.

Materials: The book, The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, sentence strips with the following sample sentences: "I don't want to go to school today!"�, "Do we have to do that?", "Leave me alone!", "What would you like to do?", "Can we please go now?", "I can't wait to go to the concert tonight!", dry erase board and markers to write differently punctuated sentences on, Stu's Tune by Educational Insights and an assessment checklist with the following questions:
___Did the student change his/her voice from high to low when needed?
___Did the student change his/her voice from loud to soft when needed?
___Did the student recognize the punctuation mark present at the end of each sentence and read it accordingly?
___Did the student consistently read with expression throughout the story?
___Did the student respond well to peer or teacher suggestions when reading?

Procedures:
1)   First, I will explain to the students that we will learn more about reading with expression today. I will tell students that when we read with expression books come alive and sound like real language and how we would actually talk. I will also tell them that when we read with expression, we don't just read the words but think of how we would say them if we were that character. We wouldn't say our words without any emotion, and neither would our characters. If they are happy, sad, excited, scared, or angry, we have to express that to those we are reading to. We can express the emotions of our characters by making our voice higher, lower, softer, or louder. I will tell the students that we will practice listening for expression with the book, The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss.
2) Next, I will tell the students that as I read the book, The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, I want them to listen for my use of expression. Before we read the whole book, we will work through the first page together. I will read a sentence at a time and verbally discuss how I know if it was read with expression or not. I might say, "It was a very good day" very flatly. Then I would say to the class, "That was kind of boring and just sounded like the words. Lets see if I can do better with my expression. I will have to focus on what I'm reading and think about how the character would be feeling. Then I will put an emphasis on the words that show the expression of what is being said in the sentence". Then I would read, "It was a very good day" with expression and say to the class, "That was much more emotional and showed how I felt, huh? It had much more expression than the first time I read it". I will then explain to the students, "When you hear me use expression in the story, I want you to show me a thumbs up. If you think I am reading without emotion and just saying the words, show me a thumbs down". As I read the story to the students I will make sure to change how I am reading throughout the story by reading with expression and without expression so that students will have to pay attention and really listen to know whether  to give me a thumbs up or thumbs down.
3) After the completion of the story I will ask the students, "How did you know when I was reading with expression? Can you show me an example sentence in the book where I used expression and say it how I did? How did you know when I didn't use expression? Can you show me an example sentence in the book where I didn't use expression and say it how I did? What can you hear in the two sentences we have just read that are different?"
4) I will say to students, "Now that you have been able to hear the difference in my use of expression in the book we read, I want to show you me how to read sentences with and without expression to show the class the difference. I will do one first and then you guys will do them in pairs". I will hold the sentence strip with "I don't want to go to school today!" to the class. I will first read it plainly, "I don't want to go to school today". I will say, "Was that read with or without expression? (Wait for student response) Good! It was read without expression. Now let's see if I can read it with expression! "I don't want to go to school today!" That time I emphasized important words and showed the character's emotion that they really didn't want to go to school that day". I will then ask for volunteers in pairs of two to come to the front of the class. I will give each pair one sentence strip one of the following sentences on it: "Do we have to do that?", "Leave me alone!", "What would you like to do?", "Can we please go now?", "I can't wait to go to the concert tonight!". Each pair will read their sentence to the class. One of them will read the sentence with no expression and the other will read the sentence with expression. After each pair reads their sentence both ways, the class will talk about which student read with expression, which didn't, and the difference in how the sentences were read.
5) I will then ask the students, "How can punctuation marks change how we read a sentence with expression? If a sentence ends in a question mark, we would say it differently than if it ended in a period, right? For example (writing on the board) if I asked, "What did you eat for breakfast today?" I would say that differently than if it ended in a period like "I ate toast for breakfast today." Or if the same sentence, "I ate toast for breakfast today" ended in an exclamation point, I would say it differently. I would then say "I ate toast for breakfast today!" Do you think the person who said the sentence that ended with a period or with an exclamation point was excited about having toast for breakfast? How can you tell?" Then I would ask, "Can any of you think of how punctuation changes the way you read or say things?" I would wait for student examples. If none are provided, I would give a few more examples and then discuss them.
6) I will then say to the students: "Now that we have listened to find expression in sentences, shown how the same sentences could be read with and without expression, and how punctuation marks effect expression, we are going to read books individually and then with partners using expression." I will give each student a copy of Stu's Tune by Educational Insights. I will give the following booktalk, This book is about a boy named Stu who likes a tune (which is another word for song). He sings it a lot and listens to it on his tape player. It seems like everywhere he goes someone else is singing it too. His friend Lu plays it on the jukebox. His mom hums it while cooking. His dad plays it on an instrument, and the tune is even on TV when he turns it on! Do you think Stu will get tired of this song after hearing it so much? Do you think it will remain his favorite? We will have to read and find out!"
7) I will then tell students to read Stu's Tune silently until I say to stop. If they finish it before I say stop, they may go back and read it again. When I say stop, I will put them in pairs. With their partner, they will alternate reading the pages aloud to one another. I will walk around and use the following checklist to assess the students' use of expression when reading:
___Did the student change his/her voice from high to low when needed?
___Did the student change his/her voice from loud to soft when needed?
___Did the student recognize the punctuation mark present at the end of each sentence and read it accordingly?
___Did the student consistently read with expression throughout the story?
___Did the student respond well to peer or teacher suggestions when reading?

Reference:
 
1) Dr. Seuss. The Cat in the Hat. Random House 1957.
2) Stu's Tune by Educational Insights.
3) "Use Expression", Melissa Parrish, http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/innov/parrishgf.html.

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