Lesson plan

Punctuation & Prosody

Are your second graders struggling with reading comprehension? Help them understand how prosody can help their understanding of the text with this reading lesson plan.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Building Fluency with Punctuation pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Building Fluency with Punctuation pre-lesson.

Students will be able to read with prosody.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(2 minutes)
  • Tell students that today we will be looking at the comprehension and prosody clues that punctuation gives us in a text.

  • Define prosody as the rhythm and pattern of sounds in language. Write the definition on the board. Explain that when we read with prosody, it helps us better understand what is happening and what characters are feeling.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute the first fiction passage to students.
  • Project the passage. Tell students to point to each word as you read aloud the first two sentences without paying attention to the punctuation. (Note: Don’t read with feeling. Speed through the commas/periods, etc!)
  • Ask students for feedback: "Why did my reading sound so strange?"
  • Tell students that you read without prosody because you ignored the punctuation marks.
  • Ask student volunteers to share punctuation marks they know. Record them on the chart paper, explaining their clues as you go (e.g. the question mark makes your voice go up at the end of the sentence; a comma makes you take a quick pause).
  • Define dialogue as talking in a text. Provide an example on the board, and read it aloud to show how your voice changes between the narration and dialogue. For example: “'Thank you! Thank you!' called out the mother as the firefighter ran into the house.”
(8 minutes)
  • Read aloud the first two sentences again, this time with prosody.
  • Tell students to reread the first two sentences aloud with you.
  • As a class, read the rest of the passage aloud.
(10 minutes)
  • Assign or remind students of their reading partners.
  • Distribute the second fiction passage to students.
  • Instruct students to begin reading the passage, taking turns reading each sentence with prosody.
  • Remind students to take their time; rushing will make it difficult to understand!

Support: While others work independently or in partnerships, call your struggling readers into a group to read aloud with you.

Enrichment: For students needing a greater challenge, consider the optional game and/or worksheets listed in the materials section as extension activities.

(5 minutes)
  • While students are reading, circulate the room answering questions and informally assessing student abilities.
  • Student fluency should be noted for future small group work.
(5 minutes)
  • Call students back together.
  • Ask students to share the easiest part of reading aloud with prosody. What was the most difficult?

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