Hop on the Express Train to Read Expressively
Growing Independence and Fluency
By: Lyndsay York

Rationale: In order to read fluently students must be able to read words automatically and accurately.  If they have accomplished this then they should be able to read at a faster pace also.  The next thing they can learn is to read with expression.  This is what makes reading fun and enjoyable not only for the readers, but also for the listeners.  This lesson will teach students how to read with expression and they will be able to evaluate a classmate on how to read expressively.

Materials:  enough copies for each student of the book The Real Seal, checklist worksheet for each student, pencil, laminated cover up cards for each student (index card labeled Cover it Up), sentence strip for each student

1. "Today we are going to have so much fun because we are going to learn how to read with expression.  First though we are going to go back and review how to use our cover up cards.  (pass out a card to each student) When you come to a word that you do not recognize what do we need to do?  Right, you uncover one letter at a time.  Watch me as I uncover a word."  Write the word express on the board.  I will use my cover up card to uncover one letter at a time.  Help me sound out each letter.  First uncover the e that makes the /e/ sound.  Next uncover the x that makes the /cks/ sound and so forth.
2. "Now let's go back to reading with expression.  Does anyone know what I mean by this?  Yes, it means to enjoy reading and to actually try to sound like the character whether they are happy, sad, mad, or very excited.  Does anyone know what it means to not read with expression?  Well listen to me read this sentence and see what you think.  (Read the first sentence from the book A Real Seal very monotone and boring)  Now was that fun and exciting, or boring?  It was definitely boring, but in order to make it fun and exciting what do I need to do?  Yes, read with more expression.  In this sentence after the word gee is an exclamation point, which means that Pete is saying this, very excited.  So let's all try saying gee together very excitingly.
3. Give copies of A Real Seal to each student and also the checklist worksheet.  Then pair up the students so that they can work with a partner and assign them to a space in the classroom so that each pair is not too close to another so that they can read aloud without being distracted.  Make sure they have a pencil with them too.  Review the correct way to behave while reading with a partner.  Make sure they are listening carefully while their partner reads and they will do the same in return.  As one student reads the book, the other will check off how many ways that student reads with expression.  Then they will switch roles.  Make sure that they write their partner's name at the top of the worksheet and not their name.  (I will walk around the classroom and observe the students as they read)
4. Assessment: Give each student a sentence strip and ask them to pick a sentence out of the book that is in quotation marks and is being said by someone.  Give the students some time to read their sentence to themselves and to figure out what kind of expression to use. (they may need to use their cover up card)  Then have each student bring their sentence to the board where I will tape it up so that everyone can see it and the student will read it with expression to the class.  Then the students will raise their hand and tell what kind of expression that student used.  Then I will read some sentences and the students will need to write down what kind of expression I am using.  I will read about five sentences and I will take this up and grade this.
5. After each student has read their sentence go back and review any sentences that some of the students had trouble with.  Review once more what it means to read with expression.  Throughout the day as I say things, ask they students what kind of expression I used.  Whether I am excited or sad, etc.

A Real Seal by Karen Harrington, Steck-Vaughn Company, 1991.

Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  Brigham Young Universtiy. Prentice Hall, New Jersey (1995). pp. 55-60

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