If You’re Happy and You Know it... Show Us with Expression!




Growing independence and Fluency Design

Amy Crump


Rationale:  Reading Fluency is the ability to read faster, more smoothly, and more expressively.  Reading with expression makes the text being read come alive!  Studetns should learn to read with great expression when reading aloud or silently.  In this lesson students will learn the importance of reading with expression; it will be demonstrated through how students change their voices and can show different emotion and expression while reading.  



 Teacher copy of Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. 1972. One copy per student

 3 sentence strips that make up a paragraph (after school my mom took us all to the denist and Dr. Fields found a cavity just in me.  Come back next week and I’ll fix it, said Dr. Fields.  Next week, I said, I’m going to Australia!)

 Peer Evaluation Form/ Checklist for teacher assessment of students reading:

           1. Does your partner/ the student read smoothly?

            2. Does your partner/the student vary their tone of voice?

            3. Does your partner/the student change the tempo in the reading when necessary?

            4. Does your partner/the student show emotion with facial movement?


 Different cutout masks, showing emotions (sad, happy, mad, puzzled) for each student.  Sentences modeling each of these emotions:  I fell off my bike and cut my knee.  I won the spelling bee today.  My little brother broke my favorite toy.  I cannot figure out the answer to this problem…

 Teacher copy of When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry… by Sophie Bang. 2004.


1.  Explain it means to read with expression and why it is important.  “Today, we are going to learn how to read with expression!  Has anybody ever listened to one person read a story and they really liked it and then you heard another person read it and you didn’t like it as much?  Maybe it was because one person did not read with expression and it made the story very boring.  Expression is the way your voice naturally moves up and down when you talk.  We should always read with expression, so that the story comes alive, just like you speak with expression. 

 2.  I will explain to the students that as great readers we want to entertain our audience and we want to enjoy it too.  To get your audience interested, you should read with expression and make the story come alive.  One way to do this is by using the voice a character would us when speaking.  Let’s practice, repeat the sentence after me with expression.  “Today is my birthday!”  Allow time for students to say the sentence with joy.  “IT is dark, rainy day.”  Allow time for students to sadly repeat the sentence.

 3.  “Now we are going to look at some sentences.  I am going to read them once with expression.  (Read the sentences:  after school my mom took us all to the dentist and Dr. Fields found a cavity just in me.  Come back next week and I’ll fix it, said Dr. Fields.  Next week, I said, I’m going to Australia!  “How did that sound to you?  It was very boring to read! Was it boring to listen to?”  Now I will read the same sentence again with expression.  One secret to reading with expression is making the pitch of your voice change from high to low, depending on your emotion.  “How did the second time sound different? 

4.  I will model emotions by reading Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry… by Sophie Bang.  I will use many forms of expression to display the correct way to read with expression to the students.  “Now I’m going to read Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry…  When I complete one page I want you to give me a thumbs up or thumbs down if you think I used correct expression while reading. 

 5.  The class will now engage in an activity.  I will hand out the cutout mask to each student. I will read the sentences listed above and when I read the sentence want you to put up the “emotion mask” that matches with the sentence. 

 6.  “Now I am going to read a book called Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  This story is about a young boy who is having a disastrous day!  Not one thing is going his way.  He wishes he would have stayed in bed and tells everyone that he is going to move to Australia. Will Alexander ready move or will he have a better day tomorrow.  Now, I will put students into pairs and give them a copy of the book and the peer evaluation sheet.  While one student is reading, the other student will fill out the sheet on their partner’s expression while reading.  I will go over the partners’ evaluation sheet and discuss each question, so that students understand the evaluation. 

 7.  Assessment:  I will use the partner evaluation.  I will walk around and observe the students as they take turns reading.  I will complete the form of how well students read with expression. 



 Jamie Braswell.  Reading with Oomph!


 Jenna Sumlin.  Express yourself


 Sarah Byrd.  Excellent Expression



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