Express Yourself!

Emergent Literacy

Amber Dunlap



Rationale: Students who have reached reading fluency can recognize words automatically and accurately. Once students can read with fluency, they can focus on reading with expression, which will help them connect to the story better. This will make the story more interesting for themselves and the people they read to. The students will hear the difference in the teacher's reading: through first reading with difficulty (working out unfamiliar words), next through reading smoothly but with no expression, and then reading with the correct expression. The students will then break off into pairs to practice for themselves.


Materials: I Want My Hat Back, by Jon Klassen. Walker Books Ltd. 2012. (Enough copies for each student and one for the teacher), Pencils. Reading Journal (each student should already have their own), Express to Connect Peer Review Sheet


Procedures: 1. Do you like to read to people? This is what we will be working on today. I am going to read you a few sentences from this book, I Want My Hat Back. This book is about a bear that has lost his hat but realizes that he has seen it while searching for items he realizes someone has stolen it. What will the bear do? I will then read a passage while sounding out words words slowly without crosschecking. "Would you be able to keep up if I continued reading like that? No, I think I need a little more practice." Next, I would read the same passage without any expression. "Well that's not very interesting! How could I make that more interesting? Maybe by putting in some expression?" Then I would read the passage again using correct expression. "Was that better?"


2. As we become better readers, we use more expression when we read to make the books more interesting to ourselves and the people we read to. The stories we read just aren't the same if we just let the words hang there dry and boring. We need to give them some life! The last time I read, I was using expression and that was the one that sounded the best. The best was to do this is to try to figure out what the characters are feeling. Characters may be sad, angry, happy, scared, or any other emotion. W have to read the words they say to understand how they feel.


3. Now I am going to read the next page of the book, I aging to read with expression so you tell me now bear feels "My poooor hat. What if nobody ever sees it again?" What type of emotions do you think bear is feeling based on how I read that page?


4. Now the teacher divides the class into pairs and passes out books. Each pair of students should receive two copies of I Want My Hat Back and an Express to Connect Peer Review Sheet. Remind students how punctuation is a clue to the emotion of the character: For example, how a question mark would affect the voice and how an exclamation mark would make the voice sound stronger and more excited. Give the students time to review the text and practice rereading. When we are reading with our partners, one of you will be listening and one will be reading. Then we will switch to let the other person have a turn reading. If you are listening, I want you to think about how your partner is reading. Let's look at the Peer Review Sheet I gave you. We will be listening for changes of their expression in their voice and their face. We will be asking ourselves if our partner is making the story interesting for us. And finally, we will be asked what happened in the story. Are there any questions before you start reading with your partners? Let's start reading!


5. For assessment teacher has the students return to their desks, make sure their names and their partner's names are on the Peer Review before they turn them in. Then the teacher will ask the students to take out their Reading Journal and write about something that happened in the story and how bear felt based on our expressive reading.




Hannah Willams, "Expression Makes Reading Exciting" Spring 2003 -


I Want My Hat Back, by Jon Klassen. Walker Books Ltd. 2012.

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