EL Support Lesson

Let's Read It With Expression!

Teach your students about text clues that will help them read with expression. This lesson can stand alone or be used as a pre-lesson for the *Reader's Theater: Read the Script* lesson.
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Students will be able to read, understand, and identify the components of dramas.


Students will be able to fluently read grade level texts with various punctuation using sentence strips.

(2 minutes)
  • Draw a period, question mark, and exclamation point on the board and ask students if they have a title for what those are (punctuation). Allow them to answer in their L1 if necessary.
  • Explain that these symbols tell us how to read a sentence. Tell students that today's lesson will be about how to read sentences with expression based on the end punctuation.
(8 minutes)
  • Introduce the tiered words using the teacher set of Vocabulary Cards. Read aloud each word and have students repeat it. If there is an image on the Vocabulary Card, point it out, but if there is not, ask students to brainstorm what image they could put there.
  • Display the completed Frayer Model for the term question mark. Explain the requirements of each section of the graphic organizer. Point out that the Sentence section of the graphic organizer includes a sentence that uses a question mark instead of the vocabulary word.
  • Give each student a Graphic Organizer Template: Frayer Model worksheet and assign them one of the following words: period or exclamation point. Have them complete the worksheet, and be prepared to share with a partner.
  • Create partnerships, each student representing a different type of punctuation, and have them share their Frayer Models with each other.
  • Go over them as a class by calling on students to share the information on their graphic organizers. Create teacher copies to display as reference for the remainder of the lesson.
(10 minutes)
  • Display one sentence strip at a time and point out the punctuation at the end. Model how to read the sentence based on the end punctuation. Have students repeat the correct expression aloud for each sentence. Then, show them how your expression would change if you changed the punctuation mark. Point out that the end punctuation helps clarify the meaning of the sentence.
  • Distribute the Proper Punctuation worksheet to each student, and model reading the first sentence and choosing the correct punctuation. Have the students make the same marking on their papers. Read aloud the sentence with correct expression, and have students choral read it.
  • Engage the class in discussing the correct punctuation for a few examples on the worksheet. Call on students to model how to read it with correct expression.
  • Instruct students to complete the worksheet with a partner, discussing the correct punctuation, and practicing how to fluently read the sentence. If they finish early, they should continue reading aloud the sentences to each other to practice fluency and expression.
  • Go over the worksheet as a class and have students model reading with correct expression.
(12 minutes)
  • Display the My Fluency Checklist for Expression section on the Reader's Theater: Spring Break worksheet and go over each item and explain how to grade yourself as a reader. Model reading aloud a short passage and assessing yourself using the checklist.
  • Put students into groups of three, and distribute a copy of the worksheet. Assign each student a part, and instruct them to practice reading fluently by paying attention to the end punctuation in each sentence. Tell them that they will use the checklist at the bottom to rate themselves after they read aloud each part in the Reader's Theater script.
  • Give students time to read the script three times in their small groups, switching roles each time, and then rate themselves on the checklist.


  • Allow access to reference materials in home language (L1).
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary to the teacher.
  • Provide sentence stems and frames for students to use when sharing their Frayer Models.


  • Allow learners to utilize glossaries and dictionaries for unfamiliar words.
  • Choose advanced ELs to read aloud first in group and class discussions.
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary, summarizing important information for the class.
(6 minutes)
  • Give each student an index card and have them number it one to three. Instruct the class to write three example sentences, one with each type of punctuation.
  • Have learners read their sentences aloud to a partner and observe students' fluency and expression.
(2 minutes)
  • Tell students that paying attention to the types of sentences will help us read with more expression. When we read aloud, or even to ourselves, expression helps us to better understand the characters, events, and the story as a whole.

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