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How to encourage expression when reading

Discussion in 'Primary' started by rlleasl2, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. I am currently tutoring a 16 year old with English and Biology.
    This is the first time I have tutored anyone as I usually work with preschoolers!
    She is working at about an 11 year old standard for English, but lacks expression when reading. When reading, her expression is very monotone. During conversation, she is full of expression in her voice and body language.
    What methods can I use to encourage her to use expression when reading?
    I have modelled it, asked her comprehension questions (to see if she understands the mood of a chapter) and I have encouraged her to talk about feelings etc.
    Any ideas would be gratefully received!
  2. I must add, she hasn't got any special needs.
    She is a refuge from Burma and has only had about two years worth of formal education hence why she is behind so far.
  3. emilystrange

    emilystrange Star commenter

    i have a 7 year old in my class whose reading is very good, but expression rather robotic. i asked him to say the words as if he was telling his mum what happened. big improvements!
  4. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    My class like to read with "attitude" ... it gets a better response than "expression"
  5. Why don't you act out parts of the story together? Choose something with some real emotion in it (like anger) and do a bit of drama exploring how the character might be feeling etc.
  6. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    People really need to understand the context as well as the vocabulary and punctuation to be able to read with expression. If she is reading at level 4 (which I assume since you say she is at the standard of an 11yo) then give her level 3 playscript books to read with you. Bet she can do it easily then.

    Does she need to read aloud with expression, I assume you you are tutoring for GCSE?
  7. I recently moved to America and I am taking over from another lady for the next 5 weeks whilst she is on a sabbatical with her husband.
    We are not studying for any exams, just trying to give her some education to be able to manage day-to-day cares. So we are looking at English, math, biology and history. The English book we are using is looking at different words in a sentence, how to construct WOW sentences and writing for different purposes.
    I thought by helping her read with expression/attitude, this would help her remember the characters during our history lesson.
    thanks for all your suggestions, they are much appreciated! [​IMG]
  8. karentee

    karentee New commenter

    Read it through twice, the first time for comprehension, the second for expression. You can't read with expression unless you understand what you are reading. She could read a paragraph alone first (rather than aloud) discuss it with you and then ask her to read it aloud
  9. I usually start with trying to get the child to read dialogue with expression. Choose a page she has already read and ask her to identify some speech. Get her to read it. Then ask her who said it, how they were feeling, etc. Ask her to say it the same way she thinks the character would say it. And repeat with a few other examples. Explain that this is reading with expression and makes it much more interesting, enjoyable to read and easier to remember. Don't spend ages on this but practice it a few times and praise her efforts.

    Also, model reading with expression. When you feel she wouldn't be put off by it, model reading in two ways: 1) without expression and 2) with expression. Ask her which sounded better and why. Ask her what makes it difficult for 'us' sometimes to read with expression and has she got on tips to help us with this.

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