E-X-P-R-E-S-S-I-O-N, What’s that spell? Expression!

Growing Independent and Fluency Design

By: Katie Nirschl

Rationale:  Our goal from teaching decoding is for our students to become fluent readers.  A fluent reader has the ability to read quickly, smoothly, and with expression.  To be a fluent reader you must have automatic word recognition, which is gained through decoding.  When readers are able to read fluently they can comprehend what they are reading, instead of focusing on the correct pronunciation of a word.  Now that they are becoming independent readers, one of our goals in fluency is to read with expression!  This will make the text more interesting for the students.  Students will learn how to read fluently by examining the meaning of punctuation at the end of a sentence, peer assessments, and acting out emotions to help show how you can change your voice and facial expression to bring a book to life. 


·         Teacher copy of Iggy Pig’s Big Bad Wolf Trouble

·         Class copies of Iggy Pig’s Big Bad Wolf Trouble

·         Hat

·         Strips of paper with sentences and emotions

·         Evaluation sheets (enough copies for everyone including me)

·         Smartboard with saved file of sentences

·         Pencils

·         Graphic images




Have the graphic images with the different facial expressions pulled up on the smartboard to draw their interest.  Say today we are going to learn how to read with expression!  When you read with expression you change how your voice sounds, and the way your face looks.  We do this so reading is fun, not boring. 

Say that as a fluent reader it is important that we read with expression so our audience isn’t bored by our stories.  We want to make the stories come alive when we read them, so the audience and you, the reader, will enjoy the story.  Now I am going to read you some sentences. Read the following sentences off the smartboard without expression: It is windy today.  I think I am going to go to the park. Want to go to the park with me?  I love flying kites! Do you like to fly kites?  Flying kites is my favorite thing to do!  Ask students if my reading was boring or exciting.  I didn’t read with any expression so it was very boring.  Now I am going to read the sentences with expression.  I want to watch my face and listen for the different ways I make my voice sound.  I reread the previous sentences with expression.  Did you notice how my voice went higher and lower when I read the sentences. (Say high and low with the matching pitches to better illustrate what I mean).  Also did you notice how the punctuation mark at the end of the sentence clued me in as to how to read the sentence?  The period I read normal.  (Say this is a normal voice.  The question mark I read as a question and my voice goes up at the end instead of down. (Say this with a questioning voice).  The exclamation points I read with a higher pitched voice so it when I read the sentence my voice will go up and get a little louder with excitement! (Say this with a higher pitch voice and excitement). 

Model to the students how to read with expression.  Say now I am going to read you a passage from Iggy Pig’s Big Bad Wolf Trouble by Vivian French with expression.  Now while I am reading I want you to listen to my voice and how it changes.  I want you to give me thumbs up when you hear I am excited or happy.  Give me thumbs down when I am angry or sad.  If you think my voice is normal don’t give me either thumb up or down.  Read the passage to the students that has a mixture of emotions to convey the message to the students of what it is like to read with expression.

Now the students will engage in a fun activity by reading with expression.  I will have the students draw sentences from a hat that has an emotion with it that they must read it with.  I will give them a minute to silently practice how they are going to read the sentence or ask me what a specific emotion is.  I will call on the students individually to come up and read their sentence to the class.  After they have read their sentence I will ask their students what emotion they think it was and what kind of punctuation mark would be used.  I will do this until everyone has had a turn.

Now I will have the students pair up to read the book Iggy Pig’s Big Bad Wolf Trouble to each other.  Tell the students they will take turns reading the book to one another.  The first students will read the first half and the second students the second half.  While one is reading the other will mark them on how well they are reading with expression.  If your partner is reading smoothly, you will put a check by #1 if your partner changes their voice and it is sometimes high and sometimes low, then you will put a check by #2. If your partner reads faster and slower at different parts of the book, put a check by #3. And if your partner shows emotion in their face while reading, put a check by #4.  Before we get started I want to tell you a little about what this book is about.  It is Iggy the Pigs birthday and he is going to have a birthday party.  He goes around promising he will have different types of food for his guests, while being followed by a big hungry wolf.  When he gets home his mother says that she can’t provide those things.  The pig is sad walks away and is greeted by the big hungry wolf who promises him he can get the pig everything he needs for his party.  So you have to read and find out if the wolf really has the things he needs for his birthday party.


Students are now allowed to do quite work.  They can in order of importance, finish any unfinished work, read quietly, or sit at a computer to play education games.  While students are doing this I will call them back one at a time and do the same assessment the students did in pairs, along with some comprehension questions.  I will have them read the passage on pgs. 18-21 in Iggy Pig’s Big Bad Wolf Trouble using the same scoring sheet they used as pairs.  After they have read the passage I will ask them a few questions like: “Was the mood the same or different?” “What were the moods?”  “Explain how you know what the mood is.” “How do you think Iggy felt when his mom said she couldn’t get the food for his friends?” “Do you think the wolf really wants to help?” “Does this book remind you of any other book?”



Expression? Expression! By Kellie Lawrence


French, Vivian. Iggy Pig’s Big Bad Wolf Trouble. New York: 1998. Print

Peer Evaluation Form:

_______1. Does your partner read smoothly?

_______2. Does your partner change their voice from high to low?

_______3. Does your partner change the speed from fast to slow when needed?

_______4. Does your partner show emotion with facial movement?


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