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How do I encourage 'expression' in DS reading?

(19 Posts)
messybessie Wed 28-Sep-11 20:38:05

DS is on blue ORT.

He can read almost all the words in his books and fairly fluently.

The teacher says he needs to use more expression before he can move up.

I've tried to encourage him but he's having none of it. He is not the expressive type! Doesn't like dancing or singing, quite self conscious.

Am nervous the teacher is expecting Kenneth Branagh! grin

How can I help him?

Carrotsandcelery Wed 28-Sep-11 20:41:18

Sorry, I can't help you but I can show solidarity as my ds has the same problem. He is stage 8 ORT and reads fluently, just woodenly, and I have no idea how to help, other than modelling lots of expression myself.

I shall watch with interest. Thanks for starting the thread messy.

mummynoseynora Wed 28-Sep-11 20:41:46

I don't really know tbh and not much experience... DD just started school and somewhere between pink / red bands (reads both) I am teaching her that if there is an ! it needs to be said with more enthusiasm or nearly a shout - excited like, and if there is a ? said as it you are asking a question... she is getting them so far - but she is a chatterbox and VERY expressive at the best of times confused

SamsungAndDelilah Wed 28-Sep-11 20:55:34

expression at blue level? That's quite demanding. I don't think they were asking much of DS1 before he was on purple...

Anyway, I remind DS1 to use a storyteller voice. I tell him I'm going to shut my eyes and get comfortable and enjoy listening to the story, and that sometimes works. Sometimes it doesn't and he does the whole thing in a monotone, but that's boys for you.

WoodBetweenTheWorlds Wed 28-Sep-11 20:56:06

I'm not a teacher, and don't know what a teacher would recommend. However, I taught my own daughter to read with expression by reading to her without any! She was used to me reading stories to her with lots of expression, but one day, I just read like a robot. She was surprised and laughed her head off, then asked why I was reading like that. I told her that I wanted her to hear how she was reading to me. She got the point straight away, and there was an instant improvement. She did lapse back from time to time, but I just had to remind her that she had turned into a robot again, and she would make a bit more of an effort. Her teachers have all commented on her fantastic expression so I think it worked!

I think it takes so much concentration when they are learning to read, they don't always think about how it sounds, but if you show them, they will start to realise why it matters.

FlyingPirates Wed 28-Sep-11 21:03:10

I dont think asking for expression at blue is too much.

Tell your DS as mommynora said above that ? is a question and should be said in a questioning voice, a ! should be exclaimed. Additionally, if he is at the stage where he reads in his head faster then he does aloud (I think they generally are at blue? Could be wrong) if he see that it is Kipper whispers then he should lower his voice. Shouted doesnt mean shout or he might give the teacher a fright, but should be read forcefully.

I like WBTW suggestion of a monotone story for effect. Read him lots and lots of stories and use overdramatic expression then get him to help you act out the story. I used to quite like the playscripts as we always had a bit of fun acting them out and being silly smile

Maarias Wed 28-Sep-11 22:02:36

Yes, we've had this too! DS is doing the Ginn books now (purple level), but he was on ORT blue books before that.
He sort of gets it when he can be bothered. Just try and explain about punctuation and stopping and pausing. Sometimes I just read a sentence to him so gets the gist...I agree though it's all ridiculous...he is a very able reader...but the books are soooo tedious and dull!

messybessie Wed 28-Sep-11 22:06:55

Thanks, I'm glad I'm not alone.

I tried to get him to use voices but he chose 'robot' so that didn't really help grin. I ask him what voice them might have used and sometimes he'll read the quote again with more expression.

I've also started to let him listen to story tapes at bedtime (after I've read to him) as I reckon Imelda Staunton is probably a bit more expressive with her snail and whale than me blush.

Hopefully by Christmas he'll be able to adopt a wide range of regional accents.

Fairenuff Wed 28-Sep-11 22:09:25

Use really silly voices for the characters. If you can, act out the stories. If his sense of humour can stand it, do pretend falling asleep and loud snoring if he is too monotone. But only if he finds it funny!

Show him how everyday phrases can mean something different depending on how you say them i.e. It's raining (in a said voice, we can't play outside). It's raining! in a happy voice (the drought is over) - not brilliant examples but you get the idea.

Shanghaidiva Thu 29-Sep-11 09:39:29

I read with years one and two and do the following:
read the text with no expression and ask them what they think,
ask how they think the characters feel and adjust expression accordingly, look at punctuation e.g exclamation marks and question marks and when to pause for full stops. I also read a lot to my own kids and dd who is 5 is very expressive when she reads - (bit of a drama queen!).

Merrin Thu 29-Sep-11 09:45:14

How about making a game of reading in silly voices, making your voice low or high, alternating words in tone or accent. We used to do that when the books were very very dull and easy, but it helps move any self consciousness to one side and makes it a fun silly game. Reading with a little expression doesnt seem such a stretch after that.

lollington Thu 29-Sep-11 09:47:22

What's blue? d3 (year 1) is on stage 4 and reads in that robotic sing song voice that they ALL seem to do at one stage. I rather like it.

messybessie Thu 29-Sep-11 10:13:55

I think blue is stage 4.

Some good ideas on here, thank you - I shall try them tonight. I think part of the problem is that DS is so tired at the end of a school day, and quite reluctant to do his reading that he doesn't really have the energy or enthusiasm for theatricals!

DeWe Thu 29-Sep-11 10:49:14

Ds has just started on blue level. I think blue level is the first where they can reasonably expect a certain amount of expression. However with ds's current behaviour (he's finding the transition from preschool to school very hard) they're so pleased he's reading it nicely out loud to them I think he could chant it on one note grin
I remember looking at one teacher hmm when she said dd1 needed more expression. I showed her present book which had the words :"The cat went up. The cat went down" repeat both lines until end of the book. Not sure what expression you could get there without being silly. Teacher did have the grace to laugh.

Merrin Thu 29-Sep-11 11:04:56

I know someone who does reading in the morning before school, she says a smaller amount when they are fresh is better and it doesnt become a chore. We have yet to manage it tho!

megapixels Thu 29-Sep-11 11:19:49

As someone above mentioned, tell him to use a storyteller voice. I asked my dd to imagine she's the teacher reading the children a story at school (she is in Reception) and she loved that! Only thing is she stops after each page to hold the book up and explain to "the children" what is going on in the pictures etc. Takes more time but it's good because I know she's actually reading rather than just decoding.

lollington Thu 29-Sep-11 12:00:24

d3 got moved up a pile because the teacher was blown away by her fabulous reading of 'Husky Adventure' (ort read at home stage 4).

I couldn't bear to tell her it is because d2 had the book at home and has read it many many times to d3 so that she knows it off by heart blush

Carrotsandcelery Thu 29-Sep-11 13:37:42

I try to do music practise and reading in the morning before school as they are fresher - it does work with mine but mine are early risers. If they are still bleary with sleep I don't think it would work, or if you have to rush to work, or struggle to get them ready in time.

I am learning a lot from this thread. Very helpful.

BirdyBedtime Thu 29-Sep-11 14:47:53

Surprised at being asked to do expression on stage 4 (if that is blue). DD is on stage 7 and they've just started working on expression. She's doing OK but only after a bit of what was suggested above ie me reading in a robotic monotone to get her to realise what she was doing. Sometimes she goes a bit OTT but that's better than listening to another bloody Biff and Chip story read without expression as they are bad enough.

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