Do You Hear What I Hear?  An expressive reader!

Growing Independence and Fluency

By: Lindsay B.

Rationale:  Fluency is important in order for students to gain comprehension of what is being read.  A fluent reader has automatic word recognition, increasing their ability to take in what is being read.  Repeated readings allow students to see words frequently, helping with word recognition and improving the smoothness in which they read.  This lesson will help students gain fluency and read with expression, through repeated readings, giving meaning to the stories and words being read.


Horrible Harry and the Dragon War¸ dry erase boards, dry erase markers, sentence strips with sentences, reading checklists, pencils, notebook paper


1. Explain how important it is to read fluently and with expression.  “If someone is reading to you and they keep the same tone of voice through the whole sentence will you be interested in what they are reading?”  “It is much more fun to listen to a story when it is being read with expression. Write the sentence: “My dog loves when I take him for a walk in the park”.  If I read the sentence without expression it sounds like this: (read sentence in a dull voice).  Did you notice that my face looked bored and my eyes looked uninterested? If I read the sentence with excitement and change my voice it sounds like this: (read sentence happily, “My dog LOOOVES when I take him for a walk in the PARK”.  Did you notice that my eyes were wide and my face looked happy? When you read this way it is easier for the listener to understand what the story or sentence is saying and it is much more interesting to listen to.  Write another sentence: “I was not happy about failing my test”.  I will read the sentence happily and unhappily and I want you to tell me which one explains what the sentence is saying. 

2. We’re going to work in groups to practice reading with expression.  I know you can all read the words, but I want you to read them as the author would want you to read them.  Each pair is going to get their own list of sentences to practice reading.  When you read something sad your voice should sound sad.  When you read something happy your voice should sound happy. When you read something over and over again you understand it a little better and can help you decide how it should be read.  You will read each sentence 4 times with different expression. 

3. We’re going to read a book called Horrible Harry and the Dragon War.  It is about best friends named Harry and Song Lee who decided to work on a project together.  They got in a big fight while working and Song Lee is so mad at Harry she won’t talk to him anymore!   Do you think they’ll ever be friends again? Remember that if you’re not sure the word you read was right you can re-read the sentence to check yourself.

4. I’m going to practice reading the first page several times.  Read in a very boring and monotone voice, “My name is Doug.  I’m in Room 3B.  Usually, I write stories about my best friend, Harry.” Does that make you want to read the rest of the book?  How about if I read it in an excited and happy tone of voice? (Reread sentence)  “Now, do you want to read the rest of the story?”

5.  You’re going to split up into pairs and read a chapter to one another.  You’re going to assess each other’s reading and how well they read with expression.  It will take three tries and your partner will record your reading after each try.  Once one partner is finished reading you will switch and the other partner will read a chapter while you fill out a checklist for them. Remember, you want to read with expression so your partner is interested!

6.  To check comprehension, students will write about their favorite part of what they read and why they liked it.

7. I will have the students turn in checklists or notes they completed with their peers to assess their progress.  I will also assess comprehension based on the students’ responses.


“Did you hear that?  Sounded like fluency!” by Heather Lynch

Image From:

Higgins, Maxwell, and James Young. Vera Viper's valentine. New York, NY: Scholastic, 2001. Print.

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