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When your child (age 6-7) reads aloud, do you expect intonation etc?

(17 Posts)
roundtower Tue 09-Apr-13 11:49:42

My dd is nearly 7 and is equivalent of Yr1, I think. (not in the UK). I was asking her about reading with the teacher and she said she is good at reading the words but not so good at acting the story and 'doing the voices'.

At this age I presumed it was about becoming more confident with recognising words, blending, sounding out etc than reading aloud in an entertaining manner.

Is it usual to put emphasis on this at this stage?

MirandaWest Tue 09-Apr-13 11:55:37

DD is 7 and has been reading with expression for a couple of years but she was reading by the time she was 5. How long has your DD been reading?

caffeinated Tue 09-Apr-13 11:56:18

Yes. Dd1 was excellent at blending and romped ahead at reading but was the dullest most painful thing to listen to. In year 2 we had to put a lot of work into expression etc and make his reading aloud more interesting. Ds1 in year 1 the next year I went for a word with the teacher because he was reading books that were too easy and that teacher told me she holds them back reading easier books until they have mastered expression. Ds1 is has always been a pleasure to listen to because of that, it is certainly harder to get them to incorporate it later.

RueDeWakening Tue 09-Apr-13 12:01:11

DD is nearly 6 (but ahead with reading) and is encouraged to use expression when she's reading out loud - things like paying attention to sentences, exclamation marks, question marks, or how the characters are speaking (eg whispering, shouting etc). It's been one of her targets during this year. We sometimes have a chat about how she thinks she would say something if she felt like the character did, it seems to help her relate to the words better IYSWIM.

roundtower Tue 09-Apr-13 12:20:18

Thanks for the replies.

I have been working on paying attention to punctuation etc with her and she has really come on with her reading.

It just hadn't occurred to me to emphasise expression with her.

I suppose expression really indicates that you understand what you are reading.

She has been reading since last year but only very basic phonics books but this school year she has leaped ahead.

Periwinkle007 Tue 09-Apr-13 12:49:21

I think it is something normally expected around the levels read in Yr1-Yr2 but I could be wrong. Obviously age doesn't necessarily come into it as it is more about reading level but they have to reach a level where they can confidently read the words before they can focus on expression etc. It is much easier to concentrate on that if the words come easily.

interestingly my eldest struggles to do it with CERTAIN reading scheme books but does it absolutely beautifully with others or in stories she likes.

Reading out loud is a different skill to reading to yourself and it is one we lose if we don't do it often. we have all had teachers or lecturers who drone etc haven't we and it is a difficult skill to master. Shy children in particular can find it hard because they feel silly but doing voices doesn't mean they have to be REALLY obvious, just subtle changes make all the difference to how interesting something can sound. I told my daughter to think of reading aloud more like 'doing a reading' or 'doing a performance'

Startail Tue 09-Apr-13 12:57:33

I used to hear Y2 read, the very best 6-7 year olds put a bit of expression in, most don't. At least they don't to a random mum, they might with encouragement at home.

Generally I found they just wanted to race through as many pages as possible to get higher up the book bands than their friends.

DD2 certainly put loads of expression in her reading, for everyone because the mum who took over hearing Y2 used to write embarrassingly nice things in her book.

DD2 read very well by 5-6 and is a natural actress. Reading with expression came naturally to her as soon as she learnt to spot full stops.
(This did take a while).

Because she read well she would take pages or characters in her bed time stories and I guess DH and I both put bits of expression in when we read. DH because he's done bits of drama, me because I'm dyslexic. If I put in a bit of expression I slow down and don't paraphrase stuff.

She's a bit of an actress and a lot of a show off so she quickly started throwing in expression too.

DH and DD2 spend ages even now she's 12 sharing Garfield, Calvin and Hobs and Asterix books and acting out the parts.

DD1 is more dyslexic than me, she is a total book worm, but didn't learn to read until Y6. I think she still relies on context and her amazing comprehension skills and doesn't decode every word. She almost never reads out load and makes loads of mistakes if she does.

However, she learns songs and drama lesson scripts without trouble and chucks expression in when she performs.

Either way OP it's a talent worth developing because the confidence to express yourself can be very useful both in Drama and Music at school and in life in general.

sjupes Tue 09-Apr-13 13:01:17

Dd has been doing this since primary 1. I have to say tho she id an avid reader - absolutely everything needed to be read to me as far as dd is was concerned grin

freetrait Tue 09-Apr-13 16:45:29

Yes, my 6 year old does and I am modelling it to my 4 year old. If you read TO someone you should always have expression as you are communicating. Then it's just a question of how good it is.

Taffeta Tue 09-Apr-13 18:21:30

My DS was and is a decoder and racer as mentioned above, he now uses expression but it didn't come naturally to him.

Y2 DD (6) OTOH, isn't the best decoder but really immerses herself in the story, to the point where she will read a sentence, think about it and then say "wait! I need to read that again!" once she realises its a person making a bold statement or something, and then reread it with expression. I need to set aside waaaay more time for reading with her than I ever have done with DS.

Hulababy Tue 09-Apr-13 18:49:16

Nearly 7 would be Y2 age in the English system.

We look for expression in Y2, and in Y1 too. It goes hand in hand wth the other reading skills.

Periwinkle007 Tue 09-Apr-13 19:09:28

Taffeta we also get some rereading of bits. she often reads something then gets to the bit where it says 'whispered fred' and then she rushes back to redo it in a whisper.

If you can get hold of a copy of a playscript (or even write your own) then that really encourages expression and characters.

RhinestoneCowgirl Tue 09-Apr-13 19:15:22

DS is 7 in the summer and in Y2. They are v keen on reading with expression at his school as it does show that they are aware of what they're reading, not just decoding.

I volunteer at the school and I noticed that when I did specific praise about expression e.g. "I like the way you did the cross voice for the giant", they then would read more expressively in the next session.

When I read aloud to DS and his younger sister I do try to do lots of expression myself. It's something I enjoy anyway (much more than some aspects of parenting!) and I have fond memories of my dad reading in a really exciting way.

DownyEmerald Tue 09-Apr-13 22:38:36

I always tried to read with expression to my dd (slight thesp tendancies), tho' I know I'm nowhere as good as my dad (major thesp tendancies). But then he could make dd cry by reciting poetry when she was little!

DD picked up reading pretty quickly but expression was definitely lacking, although you could tell the difference between when she was reading speech and when it was inbetween bits if you listened hard. And then suddenly, when she was a couple of months off 7, she was reading to me and I suddenly realised there was bags of expression and she was really performing it. I was so pleased!

roundtower Tue 09-Apr-13 22:53:42

Thanks everyone.

She read this evening with loads of expression. She does understand how to do it. She was always doing it to some extent but I just hadn't realised it was something they focused on in school at this age.

She does tend to be dramatic in everyday life so I'll be encouraging her to incorporate that into her reading.

Jux Tue 09-Apr-13 23:04:19

DD was reading a bit early, but I read with her every night and practically acting everything out (got so boooored with the stories otherwise!), so yes, by then expression and voices - it was brilliant listening to her!

I did go in to school to hear children read and a lot of them didn't use expression or voices at all; there's a wide variation at that age still. Smetimes children are a bit self-conscious too.

One child I listened to regularly read as fast as a train! You could hardly hear what she was saying she was going so fast. I started 'conducting' her as she was musical and would slow the 'beat' whenever she sped up. Worked to an extent. I must have looked like a nutter, though grin

willyoulistentome Tue 09-Apr-13 23:07:51

My 7 yo son is great with the expression. He gets loads of compliments on it from his teacher. My 10 yo son is still quite monotone reading though.

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