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Reading with Expression: 5 Teaching Tips and a Free Printable

If you’re looking for some great ways to teach your child to read with expression, you’ve come to the right place! Read on to download a fun printable activity and then read our top five tips.

Let’s start with “Round Up the Sheep.” It’s a great way to start practicing expressive reading!

Download Round Up the Sheep

Sometimes the same words can take on a completely different meaning if you say them with a different expression. For example, if you’re afraid of cats, you would use a frightened voice to say, “Look! A cat!” But if you love cats, you would use a happy, excited voice to say, “Look, a cat!” This activity is a fun way to practice this concept.

Preparing the “Round Up the Sheep” Activity

  1. Download the “Round Up the Sheep” Activity.
  2. Print and cut out the sheep cards, following the instructions in the activity download.
  3. Place the cards in a pile with the sheep facing up.
  4. Now let’s practice reading with expression!

Play “Round Up the Sheep”

Have your child choose a card from the pile. The word printed above the sheep indicates the expression with which your child should read the sentence on the back of the card.

A child's hand holding a game piece

Now have your child flip the card over to read the sentence using the indicated expression.

The back of a game piece

Continue until all the cards have been read.

Game pieces on a table

5 More Ways to Teach Kids to Read with Expression

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Have Fun with Emojis

Can you read this sentence—“I miss the smell of ham,” said Dan—like an angry emoji would? Download Fun with Emojis and have a ton of fun reading like an emoji in this somewhat “emotional” activity!

7 Ways to Make Spelling Logical - from All About Spelling

Model Expressive Reading

One of the very best ways to help your little robot improve his reading is to model expressive reading while reading aloud to your children. Need picture book ideas? We’ve got you covered! Download our Picture Book Library Lists.

Read Decodable Books

Decodable books like the ones used in All About Reading feature stories that flow easily and naturally, allowing beginning readers to read more smoothly and comprehend text more easily.

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Use Buddy Reading

Also called partner reading or paired reading, buddy reading is a great way to model reading for your child, allowing him to hear and imitate expressive reading. Learn more in this Buddy Reading article.

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Encourage Reading Fluency

Does your child read like a robot? This post is chock full of valuable tips that will help your child read with meaningful expression. Explore topics like decoding skills, reading vocabulary, phrasing, and character dialogue.

Have you discovered a great way to encourage expressive reading? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

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Jill Chandler

says:

i love getting an email with ideas and games from All About Reading! The kids always love the games and they are always a good learning experience! Thank you!

Robin

says: Customer Service

Thank you so much, Jill! We aim to make the activities and games we share enjoyable and good learning experiences, and it’s wonderful to hear that we hit that goal!

Maythe

says:

This is cute and fun! Thank you

Robin

says: Customer Service

Maythe,
You’re welcome! I hope you have lots of fun with it!

Tina

says:

I love this activity

Robin

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Tina!

Kia

says:

This great! Thank you!

Robin

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Kia!

Tonya Combs

says:

I love these strategies!

Robin

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Tonya!

Vasha

says:

It’s a joy to see students read with expression. Show their imagination while expressing themselves.

Robin

says: Customer Service

I agree, Vasha! It’s lovely to hear young readers read aloud with good expression!

Amanda Johnson

says:

So fun!

Robin

says: Customer Service

Thanks, Amanda!

Melissa Tona

says:

This is great! Thank you.

Aimé MAROHASY

says:

You have my utmost respect for sharing your resources and knowledge… I am currently teaching ESL lower primary in Thailand. Thank you
Aimé MAROHASY

Robin

says: Customer Service

You are so welcome, Aimé! I’m glad you have found things here that are helpful for you in your work.

Kari

says:

This looks like a great activity for my boys!

Brianna

says:

Great ideas!

Gretchen

says:

What a fun idea! I will be using this with my kiddos when they get a little older.

Gretchen

says:

What a fun and simple idea!

Naomi Richer

says:

Looks wonderful!

Kelsey Aston

says:

These are so fun!

Jessica Ellis

says:

Love this fun way to work on expressing emotions during reading. Thanks for sharing!

Jeanette M

says:

Love these tips! I usually try to model this front the start but getting my kids to do it does not come naturally. Looking forward to trying a few of these out!

Laura Davis

says:

Love the emoji one! Thanks for always sharing good resources and games!

Fatima

says:

Thank you. Much appreciated.

Robin

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Fatima.

Valerie Armentrout

says:

For my kids, their reading has gained more expression as they mature. We read at least 1 chapter from a fun, character driven book at bedtime each night. My husband and I take turns, so the kids get to hear styles from different personalities/perspectives.

Robin

says: Customer Service

Good point, Valerie. Reading expression does improve with maturity and improved reading. It’s wonderful that your children get the benefit of hearing you and husband’s reading expression too!

Kori Villegas

says:

My daughter wants to get into theater so this will help her with that too!!! Thank you for this!

Robin

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Kori. I think this activity will be an excellent acting warm up activity!

Meagan Marazzo

says:

This was a fun exercise! The kids were asking for more words to practice on!

Robin

says: Customer Service

Thank you for letting us know that your kids liked this activity so much they asked for more, Meagan!

Phyllis

says:

This is awesome. I found out about these strategies through Texas Reading Academy for teachers. I plan to use the tips presented on this blog. I would love ❤️ to learn more.

Robin

says: Customer Service

Phyllis,
We have a lot available on our blog and website. You may wish to sign up for our weekly email newsletter as well, so that you don’t miss anything.

Sam McCormick

says:

So helpful!!

Robin

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this was helpful, Sam!

Lauryn

says:

Fun idea!

Robin

says: Customer Service

Thanks, Lauryn!

Jen

says:

It will be fun to try this. I love reading with emotion and expression but my kiddo is just starting out and isn’t there yet.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I hope you and your kiddo have a lot of fun with these activities, Jen!

Isobel Gillian Ball

says:

Absolutely knockout ideas! Thank you. You are great!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re so welcome, Isobel! And thank you!

Stacey Meyer

says:

I cannot wait to try this activity :-)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I hope you have a lot of fun with it, Stacey!

Barbara Carroll

says:

I really like this!
Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome!

Jani Hafez

says:

Always need new ideas! Thanks

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Jani!