Watch Out!  We are Reading with Expression!




Growing Independence and Fluency 


By: Jessi Haffarnan 


Rationale:  For children to gain complete comprehension, they must first acquire reading fluency.  One key indicator of a child having good reading fluency skills is being capable of reading with expression.  This lesson will further children's skills with expressions in reading, gaining for them a higher level of fluency helping to further them towards full reading comprehension.

-Enough copies for each child of Williams, Mo.  Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late.  Hyperion.  2006 

-Full Set of Magnetic Letters

-Magnetic Punctuation Marks

-Cookie Sheets

-Hand held Mirrors

-Journals with paper


1. Introduce students to the topic of expression in reading by having them hold up a mirror to their face.  Let them watch their faces as they ask questions, get angry, and smile.  "This is how our faces should look when we are reading sentences that have characters getting angry, smiling, or asking questions."

2. The teacher will next give 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.  There is one catch, it is your job to stop the pigeon from staying up late.  Do you think he is going to be happy about having to go to bed?  Let's read and find out" Read the first two pages of Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late without expression. 

3. "Reading stories is a lot of fun, but it can be even better for the listeners when you use expression when reading."  This is where the cookie sheets and magnetic boards can be used.  Give each child a copy of the book Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late.  Provide them with time to pick a sentence from the story and arrange the letters on their cookie sheet to spell out the sentence.  "Everyone should have their sentences on their boards now.  I want you to take some of your expression marks and add them onto the end of your sentence and see how it changes the meaning of the sentence.  The sentences do not  mean the same thing with different expressions.  Lets try reading it without any expression.  Reading with expression helps us gain an understanding of the story."     

4. Take back up cookie sheets.  Distribute journals to children and have them write a story that would have a lot of expression in it.  "Everyone needs to get a partner and read their story to each other.  Tell each other what you think about the punctuation marks you each used."

5.  Read journals, using a checklist see if children have appropriately used punctuation marks.


-Does student show understanding of punctuation?

-Does student demonstrate ability to connect expression to punctuation?

-Does student use punctuation appropriately?

Eldredge, J.L. (1995). Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Merrill. (Pg.168).

Boggs, Adrienne.  We Like to Read with Enthusiasm.


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