Chicka Chicka BOOM BOOM!

Reading with Expression

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom 


Rebecca Macintire



As children become fluent readers, they also need to learn how to read with expression.  Reading with expression makes a text more interesting and engaging for both the reader and the listeners.  In this lesson, students with hear a text read both with and without expression.  They will then practice reading with expression with a partner.



Copy of Shel Silverstein’s poem “Spaghetti”

Dry erase board with markers (or chart paper)

Copies of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (enough for each pair of students)

Cover up critters (popsicle sticks with googley eyes; enough for each pair of students)



1. Explain to the class what reading with expression is.  When we become fluent readers, it means that we can read passages quickly without having to stop to sound out the words.  We also want to try to read the passages with expression.  When we do that, it makes it more fun to read and more fun to hear!

2. I am going to read a poem to you by Shel Silverstein called “Spaghetti.”  I am going to read it two times to you.  Read the first time in a monotone voice with no expression.  What did you think of that?  Was the poem exciting or funny?  What did I do wrong?  How can I read it better?  Okay, I am going to try again.  Read the poem aloud a second time with obvious expression.  For example, on the last line, " 'cause they all threw spaghetti!" be sure to raise your voice and speak with a hint of humor and confusion to express what the narrator might be feeling.  Did you like it better this time?  Why?  Use the cover up critter to help read a longer word.  Remind student that they can use their cover up critter when they are reading too.

3. Let’s talk about some things that we see in a text that might make us read it differently.  Write the sentence, “That is a cat.” on the board.  Have someone read it aloud.  Now, erase the period and add an exclamation point.  Have someone read it aloud.  Erase the exclamation point and put a question mark.  Have someone read it aloud.  If we pay attention to the story and the clues that it gives us, it will help us read the passage with expression.  Can you think of other ways the passage can give us clues?  Examples:  the way someone says something, i.e. Jane said angrily/cheerfully/slowly.  Write these on the board for students to read aloud.

4. Give a brief book talk.  We are going to read a book about the letters of the alphabet!  The letters are trying to climb to the tippy top of a small palm tree, but there are twenty-six of them.  Do you think they will all make it up or will they all topple down the tree?  Let’s read to find out.

5. Divide the class into pairs and pass out one copy of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to each pair.  We are going to practice reading with expression with our partners.  Sometimes when we read, we read too fast.  Remember to slow down while you read so you can add expression.  One student will read while the other one takes notes on a piece of paper on their expression and fluency.  Then they will switch roles.  After they have both read and critiqued, they will share their critiques with each other.  They will then read it through a second time keeping in mind the tips their partner shared with them.



While students are reading with their partners, walk around the room.  Take notes of who is doing well and who is struggling.  Call each student to your desk one at a time to read Spaghetti aloud to you for an individual assessment.  Did the student use expression in their voice?  Does their voice go hight and low and soft and strong?  Do they use facial expressions?



Silverstein, Shel.  Where the Sidewalk Ends:  “Spaghetti.”  Evil Eye Music, Inc.  ©1974.

Martin, Jr., Bill and John Archambault.  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  Scholastic Inc. ©1989.

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