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Growing Independence and Fluency

Fine, Fine Expression
Growing Independence and Fluency

Rational: ­This lesson is designed to help students develop the ability to read independently and fluently.  The lessons focus is primarily on fluency. Fluency will enable the students to read faster, smoother, and with more expression. The students will be given a text.  The students will be asked to read various character parts in the story and express the attitude of their character. Whether reading silently or aloud, the goal of this lesson design is to provide practice in reading expressively.


·         Class set of the book: A Fine, Fine School, by Sharon Creech, published by Scholastic Inc., for reading groups

·     Partner Evaluation Sheet with the following questions

o   Does my partner read with good expressions, such as changing their voice and using facial expressions?

o   Did my partner make the story interesting for me to listen to?

o   What happened in the story?

·         Repeated Reading checklist


1.      “Who likes to have books read to you? Well, today I am going to read you a few sentences from this book, A Fine, Fine School.  Is everyone ready?” The teacher should not tell the students about using expression yet. The teacher will then read a short passage with a monotone voice and then ask, “Who likes the book so far? How did you like the way I read the sentences?  Now let me read the same sentences again.”  Now the teacher reads the same sentences again, but with an expressive voice.  “Who liked the second reading better than the first time I read?”  The class should discuss why they liked the sentences better the second time.

2.      “As good readers, we want our audience to enjoy what we are reading and we want to enjoy it as well.  To get your audience interested in a story, you could read with expression.  Since I read the sentences the second time with such expression, everyone enjoyed it better, right?  One way we can be expressive is to imagine the voice a character would have and use it whenever that character is talking. If the character is excited, we should use an excited voice, but if he or she is mad we should use an angry voice.

3.      Next, the teacher should read the sentences once again using vocal expressions as well as facial expressions.  “Who liked the way I read it that time?  What did you notice about my expressions?  The students will provide a variety of answers depending on the teachers reading.  “Did anyone notice my facial expressions?  You can use your face to show how characters are feeling.  Everyone watch my face as I read this sentence.”  The teacher should pick a sentence in which the character is feeling sad, happy or angry, then model the facial expressions for the class.  Next, the teacher should write 2-5 sentences on the board.  Then, have the students read using different voices and expression.  The following sentences would be good examples. The following sentences would be great examples. “Yippee!  I got an A on my test! My mom will be very proud of me!”  Students should use a happy, excited voice for these sentences.  To give the students practice using a sad voice, students could read these sentences, “I got a D on my test.  My dad will be mad at me.  I will not get to play ball today.”

4.      The teacher should then give a book talk.  “In this book, the principal loves school.  He loves school so much that he wants to go every single day of the year.  The students hate this idea and have to think of how to stop his terrible plan.  What do you think will happen?  Let’s read and find out!” Now, the teacher will divide the class into pairs and pass out the books.  Each pair of students should receive two copies of A Fine, Fine School and a Partner Evaluation Sheet.  “Now I want each of you to take turns reading this book out loud with expression.  But while your partner is reading, I want you to fill out the sheet based on their expressions.  Let’s go over the sheet together.  Number one asks, “’Does my partner read with good expression?’” “Number two says, ‘Did my partner make the story interesting for me?’ and number three says, ‘What happened in the story?’” “Does anyone have any questions about reading with expression? Remember, if you come to a word that you do not know, you can cover parts of it up to help you figure out what the word is.  For example, if I came across the word ‘time’ and I did not know what word it was, I would cover up everything but the first letter and say that sound.  Then, I would uncover the other letters and blend those sounds together.”  Teacher should model using the cover up strategy by writing a word on the board and then using an index card to cover up parts of it.

5.      For the assessment, the teacher could use the Partner Evaluation Sheets.  The teacher should also call students up one by one and administer a passage for each student to read. The teacher will then ask open-ended questions after they read the passage.


Creech, Sharon. A Fine, Fine School. Scholastic Inc. New York, NY: 2001.

Hannah Williams. Summer 2003. “Expression Makes Reading Exciting!”

Repeated Reading Checklist:

After 2nd                      After 3rd

_______                      _______          Remembered more words

_______                      _______          Read faster

_______                      _______          Read smoother

_______                      _______          Read with expression

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