Rochelle Pinnock
Elementary English Language Arts
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Assessment, Lesson Plan
Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary
  • Coral Reading
  • Lesson Plan
  • Readers Theater
  • Reading Fluency
  • Sound Effects
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, Text/HTML

    Education Standards

    Reading Fluency, Expression, and Sound Effects

    Reading Fluency, Expression, and Sound Effects


    This lesson is an Apple technology integrated lesson designed to help students practice reading for accuracy, fluency and expression. Students will practice an perform a readers theater or choral reading of their choice and record it with sound effects for a finished product.


    This lesson is an Apple technology integrated lesson designed to help students practice reading for accuracy, fluency and expression. Students will practice an perform a readers theater or choral reading of their choice and record it with sound effects for a finished product.

    Time frame:  2-3 hours. The lesson itself should only take one session of about 15 minutes. The students will be doing multiple readings of the same text and performing and enhancing their performance with sound effects. You may want to pull them back together to do technical instruction after they have completed their practice readings.

    Format: This lesson can be completed in a variety of formats (synchronous, asynchronous, face-to-face, virtual, etc.)

    Author: Rochelle Pinnock



    Background for Teachers

    During this lesson, you will be dividing your students up into smaller groups. You can use any reader's theater or coral reading materials you have available to you in your reading curriculum or extra resources. It would be beneficial to have multiple stories from which the students can choose a story that they would like to practice, perfect, and perform.  Choosing stories with periods, question marks, and exclamation marks will make for a better finished product. They will need to practice until they can read the text fluently as a group, without mistakes, and with expression. The students will be using GarageBand to record themselves on their initial reading and their final reading. They will add sound effects for punctuation and actions and add a musical intro and ending. You may want to have a space available for the groups to go to get a good final recording where they will not pick up ambient noise from the classroom in their recording. As an option, you could go a step further by having the students illustrate their story and put it into a KeyNote presentation with their sound.

    This link for a video tutorial will help if you are not familiar with GarageBand.




    Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes

    Step 1 Goals and Outcomes

    Learning Intentions: The students will be working on the following state core objectives.

    Reading: Foundational Skills Standard 4: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

           b. Read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression     

                on successive readings.


    Success Criteria:

    • Students will work cooperatively with a group.

    • Students will make an initial recording of the first time they read the text.

    • Students will read their selected text with accuracy, appropriate rate and expression.

    • Students will reread the text a minimum of ten times to increase fluency and log each time they practice.

    • Students will compare their beginning fluency rate to their practiced fluency rate.

    • The students will produce a finished reading recording complete with sound effects.


    Step 2 - Planning Instruction

    Step 2 Planning Instruction

    Student Background Knowledge:

    Prior to this lesson the students need to be able to:

    • Read a text and understand the main idea.

    • Know basic punctuation marks.


    Strategies for Diverse Learners:

    Accommodations can be made in various ways to this assignment.

    • Simpler or more complicated text can be offered to help differentiate to the students reading levels.

    • Students can work together with their group to use the computer program to record or add sound effects.

    • Students can be given multiple opportunities re-record.

    • Visual directions can be given or posted on use of the GarageBand Program.

    • Students could make a visual representation as well and put everything together in a KeyNote presentation.

    Step 3 - Instruction

    Step 3 Instruction

    Talk about the different types of punctuation that can be used in sentences and what that does with your voice.



    What happens with your voice?


    Make a statement

    Stop and take a breath

    Question Mark

    Ask a question

    Stop; your voice goes up as you get to the end of the sentence; take a breath

    Exclamation Mark

    Show Excitement

    Stop; your voice goes up and shows excitement, take a breath



    Pause, slow down

    Quotation Marks

    To show that someone is speaking

    Keep going. Imagine you are the character


    How do you know if you are reading with expression?

    • You are reading with the punctuation.
    • Your voice shows the character's feelings and what is happening in the story.
    • Your voice goes up and down and doesn’t stay the same all the time.
    • Your voice goes at different rates.
    • You are reading so it sounds like you are talking to a good friend.
    •       Ask the students to give you an example of what someone might sound like
      • Sad
      • Happy
      • Excited
      • Old
      • Shy
      • Angry
      • A cowboy


    How do you know if you are reading fluently?

    • You make sure you can read all of the words.
    • You chunk words into longer meaningful phrases as you read.
    • You reread to make sure you can read it smoothly.
    • You can add expression and it doesn’t slow you down.


    Technical Instruction: You will want to show your students how to use GarageBand to add record and use sound effects to their recordings. If you choose to add a visual component to their presentations, you would also want to give them some instruction on KeyNote or another presentation program so they can have both the visual and sound in one presentation.


    Go over the rubric that they will be scored on so that they can make sure that they are meeting the criteria for mastery level as they collect their photos and write their problems.




    Step 4 - Assessments

    Step 4 Assessments

    • Students will create a finished story presentation to be played / performed for the class. It will need to follow the rubric attached here.

    • Compare time on first reading to last reading. How much did your fluency increase?

    Optional: Illustrations to go along with story and loaded into KeyNote presentation.