“Exciting Expressions!”

By: Lyndsey Tenney

Fluency Lesson Plan



Rationale: When a student becomes fluent they have the ability to recognize words quickly, accurately, and automatically. Once fluent, it is very important to begin teaching them how to read with expressions. It is important for students to recognize the feelings and emotions that each character portray in a story. Learning how to read with expressions will also excite the students because it allows them to have fun with reading by ‘playing the part’ of different characters. In this lesson students will read and re-read portions of the book “Horrible Harry and the Dragon War.” They will also be matching different expressions with different moods that they think go along with the expression.



Book: Horrible Harry and the Dragon War, By Suzy Kline

Expression checklist

Notebook paper


Paper plates with expression faces




1. I will begin the lesson by telling the class: “Today, before we get started on our lesson I want to read a paragraph to you. I’m going to read it to you two different times and after I read I want you to tell me if you noticed a difference between the two times.”


Read: I woke up to a banging knock on the door “KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK.” I sprinted anxiously out of bed in a panic. I inched quietly towards the doorknob and as I reached for the handle the door sprung wide open blown in by the wind!

(First time read with NO expression, second time read WITH expression)


“So, did you notice a difference between the two times I read the same paragraph? What were the differences? Which time was it more enjoyable to listen to me read? Many of you said the second time was more enjoyable. That’s because I read with lots of expression! Does anyone know exactly what it means to read with expression? That’s right, reading with expression means to read with different feelings and emotions that the characters express in the stories you read. Did you notice how I expressed the loud banging at the door as “KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK” very loudly? And also how I lowered my voice very quietly and sneaky as I read the part about “inching quietly towards the doorknob?” That’s exactly what expression is!


“So, if the mood of a story was very sad how would I read the sentence: Mary lost her doll ? How would I read the same sentence if the person in the story was angry? These are all ways to read with expression!


2. “Now I’m going to show you a few different paper plate faces that I have created and see if you can guess their expressions. As we read, we can also make expressions not only through our voices but through our faces as well.”


There will be paper plates with faces: Happy, sad, confused, mad, etc.


3. After explaining to the class what it means to read with expressions and showing them examples, I will give them all their own copy of “Horrible Harry and the Dragon War.” Book Talk: “This book is about two friends named Harry and Song Lee who have been best friends since kindergarten. Everything suddenly changes when they work together as partners for a project in Miss Mackle’s class. Something happens to cause Song Lee to not even speak to Harry anymore. Will their friendship survive this project? You’ll have to read to find out!”


4. “Now you will be practicing expression on your own. Everyone will be turning to page 8 of this book. I want you to read this chapter once silently to yourself. While you do that, note the places that you notice major expressions. The next time you read, I want you to read to a partner at your table. When your partner is reading, you will be filling out an expression checklist! This checklist has different sentences throughout the chapter that should be read with lots of expression!


Sentences included in the checklist:

“I’m excited about this new quick drying art paste for our paper mache’.”

“Mine’s not mean,” Song Lee said softly.

 Harry rolled his eyes, “What’s he eating?”

“Your dragon is stupid.”

“My dragon is not stupid, he’s fierce!”


5. “Next, you will be given a list of questions to answer about the text. Once you are finished you will swap papers with your partner and have them check your answers. For the ones you get wrong, please go back together in your text and figure out why our answer wasn't correct.


1. Why do you think Song Lee and Harry were arguing so much?

2. Do you think it was a good idea for these two close friends to be assigned to work together on a project? Why or why not?

3. Why do you think Harry called Song Lee's dragon stupid?



6. At the end of the lesson the checklists should be collected and looked through by the teacher to see who fully understands what it means to read with expressions and who needs more work!




Ivey, Jennifer: Express Yourself http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/readinggenie/awakenings/iveyjgf.htm


Kline, Suzy, and Frank Remkiewicz. Horrible Harry and the Dragon War. New York: Scholastic, 2003. Print.

Image From: http://pastorrobert-nikos.blogspot.com/2010/06/christians-facial-expressions.html


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