How important is expression and intonation when reading?

(15 Posts)
Ahmawa Mon 29-Apr-19 20:45:28

My son just charges through a book as if he needs to get to the finish line. I go over if he understands it and he does, I tell him to read it again and he just goes through at the same speed.

The teachers at school mentioned he needs to focus on intonation and expression when reading. I believe he is a bit of a robotic reader.

He does read books out loud but likes to sit quietly at times and just read books himself.

OP’s posts: |
Littlefish Mon 29-Apr-19 22:49:49

How old is he?

pikapikachu Mon 29-Apr-19 23:31:23

Would he read something that's interesting to him in a robot voice too?

School reading books are usually super dull (especially if it's as reading scheme book) but he needs to know when to pause and how to read expressively.

HexagonalBattenburg Tue 30-Apr-19 08:07:07

DD1 tends to try to do this - in an effort to get moved up to the next reading band (there's a bit of a competition going to be the reading scheme top dog - pointless though it is). It's taken a LOT of explaining from us at home and school that she was NOT getting moved up until she started taking note of punctuation and expression (she's more than capable of doing so) for her to get the memo... and finally get moved up a band!

Imfinehowareyou Tue 30-Apr-19 08:10:29

It shows they understand what they are reading.

Hollowvictory Tue 30-Apr-19 08:14:25

Very important. It demonstrates understanding of the text. Lots of little ones read like robots though. I used to hear readers at school it was quite brain numbing listening to some of them. However good news, reading with expression is a skill that is not hard to learn

LetItGoToRuin Tue 30-Apr-19 09:14:43

Do you read to him regularly as well? If you demonstrate a good reading style, it will help.

When you read to him, do you put on accents or silly voices for characters? There is lots of fun to be had, and you could encourage him to do the same.

How about each of you reading the voice of one of the main characters. You could even read some plays, where it’s easy to divide the parts, or encourage him to recite some poetry.


Ahmawa Tue 30-Apr-19 09:39:03

He is 5 and in reception and the teachers wanted him to focus on intonation and expression. I am not sure whether he reads the books at school in a robotic or monotone voice because they are a lot easier than the ones he reads at home.

He is reading Level 3 ORT Yellow Band at school but has already read upto Level 6 ORT at home - the complete set 1-6 we bought.

OP’s posts: |
Ahmawa Tue 30-Apr-19 09:42:17


I think you may have hit the nail on the head, he does understand the book and words as I go through the story with him afterwards but he sees it more as something to finish.

How do I slow him down and make him pause?

OP’s posts: |
Seeline Tue 30-Apr-19 09:44:02

Get him proper books for home - much more interesting than reading scheme ones, which will encourage him to read more expressively.

Do you model expression and intonation when you read to him? Make it really over the top one night, and then read in a monotone the next time - see if he notices.

Tavannach Tue 30-Apr-19 09:45:50

Intonation and expression show that he understands the meaning. It's a big part of reading.
Tbh I wouldn't be reading school books at home (other than homework) if I wanted to encourage a love of reading. Take him to the library, let him join and have his own card, and then let him choose his own books, which you can read to him with intonation and expression if they're too advanced.

Hollowvictory Tue 30-Apr-19 09:46:57

Get him to do voices for the characters, or to sound excited of its an exciting part of the story or scraped if its scary. You can practice this any time doesn't have to be in reading, eg let's say what we want fir breakfast in an excited voice, or a surprising voice or an angry voice etc. Drama classes are also great for this but you may find that's a step too far, makes a big difference though!

eddiemairswife Tue 30-Apr-19 09:47:38

Why does he have ORT at home as well as at school? Try some age-appropriate poetry books.

CruCru Tue 30-Apr-19 10:26:42

It sounds a bit early to focus on intonation - it probably is important but it isn’t the end of the world if it comes a bit later.

If you’re looking for some books to follow the ones you’re reading at home, the Book People do two sets of Project X Alien Adventures (starting at ORT 7) for £30 or £40. Although these are still reading scheme books, they have an ongoing plot so it makes sense to read them in order. My son enjoyed these far more than the reading scheme books he got from school.

Radioactivespider Tue 30-Apr-19 10:55:40

My 5 year old loves to read picture books. This week he has read some Alfie books by Shirley Hughes, Mog books by Judith Kerr, The Large Family books by Jill Murphy and "Small Knight and George" by Rhonda Armitage. They might not stretch a child in terms of vocabulary, but they are much easier to read with expression than some of the books school send home.

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