How Grouchy are YOU!!!!!


Growing Independence & Fluency

Chelsi Simmons



Rationale:  Reading fluency is directly related to reading comprehension (Eldredge, 1995).  Teaching a beginning reader to read with expression will help them become more fluent.  When a child learns how to read with expression the text has more meaning, and they are able to understand what they are reading on a different level.  As a child reads with expression it helps them make connections between the words and their meaning.  The following lesson demonstrates a great way to help children learn to read with expression by using punctuation as a guide. 



*  Copies of “The Grouchy Ladybug” by Eric Carle for each student

*  Marker or chalk for writing on board

*  Sentence strips (one for each student)

*  Pencils

*  Reading Journals

      *  Checklist for assessment (optional) 
         Checklist  could include:  Does Student use facial expressions when reading? Yes or No
         Does student use correct expression and voice tone when reading?  Yes or No
         Does student understand punctuation marks and how they are used?  Yes or No


1.  “Today we are going to talk about using different reading voices.  When we are reading a story it is very important that we use different voices to make the characters in the story come to life.  When we understand the different expressions of the characters we can understand how the character is feeling, and this will help us better understand the story.  When we understand what we are reading it allows us to read quicker and smoother thus, making us fluent readers.”

2.  “There are different symbols that we see at the end of sentences.  These symbols are called punctuation marks.  These help us to figure out what kind of expression or voice that we should use when we read the sentence.”  Write punctuation symbols on the board (exclamation mark, period, and question mark).  Then explain and model the different voices that we use when we see each symbol.  “When we see an ! exclamation mark, this means excitement or surprise. When we are excited we tend to speak a little louder than usual.” (Write a sentence under the exclamation mark and model how to read it with expression. “Ah! You scared me.)  “When we see a period, this mean someone is declaring something and is usually in a normal speaking tone.” (Write a sentence under the exclamation mark “Mark went to the store.  And model how to read with expression) “When we see a question mark, we know that someone is asking a question, and their voice might sound serious or concerned. (write a sentence under the question mark “Why did you do that?” and model how to read the sentence with expression)

3.  Write sentences containing different punctuation marks on the board.  “Let’s practice using expression in our voices!”  Practice as a whole class reading the sentences with expression.

4.  Give each student a copy of “The Grouchy Ladybug”.  “Now we are going to get into groups and assign characters for the grouchy ladybug.  When you read this story you will hear many different voices and expressions. As you read remember to pay attention to the punctuation you see at the end of the sentence and read with expression.  When you are reading really act out your character.”  As the students read float the room and observe the students as they read.

5.  Next, ask the students to think about the way their character was feeling in the story.  Ask the students to write a new line for their character using one of the punctuation marks that they learned about (do this on sentence strips).  When students complete their sentences allow them to come up and present them to the class using the correct expression.

6.   Assessment:  Have the students read back through their book, and choose sentences that need to be read with expression.  The students can write these sentences with the correct punctuation in their reading journals.  They can then explain how the character felt or the mood they think the character was in.  This allows another opportunity for the students to read.  You could also make a checklist to use while students are reading in groups.


 Eldredge, J. Lloyd.  Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classroom.  Prentice Hall Inc, 1995.


Margaret Ann Hinshaw, Spring 2004.  “What kind of Ladybug are you?”


Carle, Eric.  The Grouchy Ladybug.  Scholastic Inc.  New York, NY. (1977)

Return to the Odysseys index.