EL Support Lesson

Read with Expression!

Knowing how to identify types of sentences and read each kind with expression is an important component of reading fluency. This EL support lesson can be taught on its own or used as precursor to the lesson year five Fluency Fun!
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theYear five Fluency Fun!Lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theYear five Fluency Fun!Lesson plan.

Students will be able to increase their reading fluency through multiple readings and peer review.


Students will be able to read aloud expressively with various sentence types using a reader's theater activity and strategic student grouping.

(2 minutes)
Reader’s Theater: My Special ValentineReader’s Theater: The Snowman’s Day to PlayWrite Student-Facing Language Objectives ReferenceTeach Background Knowledge TemplateGraphic Organizer Template: Vocabulary Instruction ChartThe Four Types of SentencesVocabulary Cards: Read with Expression!Glossary: Read with Expression!
  • Use a piece of text your students are familiar with and read aloud a page or a paragraph twice—once in a monotonous voice, without varied intonation or expression, and once with dynamic intonation.
  • Ask students to observe and listen as you read. Have them turn to a partner to share the differences they observed in the two readings (e.g., the first reading sounded boring or not interesting while the second reading sounded better). Note: At this point, it is acceptable for students to not know the key terms to describe the second more expressive reading. Accept all students' answers.
(7 minutes)
  • Hand out the Vocabulary Instruction Chart to each student and tell them that they will be learning some key terms that will help them during the lesson.
  • Introduce the vocabulary words one at a time. Display the vocabulary card, and read the word and definition out loud. Then, label the word with its part of speech and provide example(s) for the word.
  • Model coming up with your own sentence, using the word Statement. For example, "I accept the statement as true."
  • Instruct students to fill out a row on their chart using the information you provided.
  • Continue introducing words and have students fill in a row on their vocabulary chart for each one.
  • Pair up students and tell them to work together to come up with sentences for the remaining words. Call on volunteers to share their sentences.
(8 minutes)
  • Hand out The Four Types of Sentences worksheet to students and display a copy on the document camera.
  • Read aloud the teaching box at the top of the worksheet, pausing to showcase examples of each type of sentence.
  • Explain to students that it is important to learn the different types of sentences and their official names to be able to know how to read each type. For example, explain that InterrogativeSentences, or questions, are usually read with a slightly higher pitch of voice, while ExclamatorySentences are often read with a louder voice. Provide more examples to make this point. Ask students to share ways they change their voice depending on sentence types in their home language.
  • Invite a student to read aloud the directions for Part 1. Model how you read the first sentence and determine what kind of sentence it is.
  • Place students into effective partnerships. Instruct students to work with their partner, taking turns to read each sentence aloud before categorizing it accordingly. Repeat the same process for Part 2. Clarify any student's misunderstandings.
  • Read aloud the directions for Part 3 of the worksheet. Tell students to independently write four sentences, one for each type. Call on a few non-volunteers to share their sentences with the class. Encourage students to read their sentences with expression.
(12 minutes)
  • Explain to students that one way to practise reading aloud with expression is to practise performing a short skit or mini-play, also known as reader's theater.
  • Tell students that they will work in a small group to perform a short reader's theater play. First, they will identify the types of sentences in the skit and colour code them. Then, they will decide as a group who will act as which character. Finally, they will practise their lines in the skit before performing in front of the class.
  • Divide students into groups based on the number of learners in your class and characters in the skits. Note: The first reader's theater worksheet (My Special Valentine) has four characters while the second (The Snowman's Day to Play) has five characters. Make sure each student has their own copy of the reader's theater they will work with.
  • Distribute colored pencils or highlighters (four different colors) to each group, and assign each type of sentence a particular colour. Have students work in partners to identify the various sentences in their reader's theater piece. Combine two pairs of students with the same worksheet and have them compare the colour-coding activity. Circulate the room to clarify any discrepancies.
  • Allow students time to determine their roles and begin practising their skit.
  • Model how to read some of the sentences with expression for students who need additional support.


  • Define any unknown vocabulary words in the reader's theater pieces, in student-friendly terms or if applicable, in the home language (L1).
  • Create heterogeneous groups for the reader's theater activity, with beginning ELs combined with intermediate and advanced ELs who may help with pronunciation and intonation.


  • Have advanced ELs rephrase directions after you give them.
  • Encourage students to compliment their classmates' performance without the scaffold of the sentence frames.
  • Invite students to write more complex sample sentences on their worksheet and have them read their sentences first.
(8 minutes)
  • Have each group perform their reader's theater skit in front of the class as a formative assessment of the lesson.
  • Hand out a sticky note to each student and tell them to write one or two compliments as they watch their classmates perform. Provide sentence frames for students to use as they write compliments: "I liked how you _____When you performed the role of ____," or "When you changed your voice for _____, I _____."
  • Compliment students for specific instances of correct intonation and expression based on the type of sentence in the skit. (e.g., "I could tell you were excited when you read Mrs. Perez' line when she called the students to gather to introduce the new class pet. It was an exclamatory sentence and your voice got louder and higher because of the exclamation mark.")
(3 minutes)
  • Ask students to reflect on why it is important for us to know the four types of sentences and how to read each type fluently. Guide students to the discovery that being aware of the various sentence types and the ability to distinguish how to read each type makes our reading experience more interesting. Emphasize that it also helps us better comprehend or understand the text we are reading.

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