Day 29 of 31 Days to Become a Better Reader Challenge: Fluctuation

Day 29 of 31 Days to Become a Better Reader Challenge: Fluctuation

Have you ever heard someone singing a song at the same exact note for the entire piece?  Of course not, it wouldn’t be music to anyone’s ears if they did.  That is kind of what reading at the same tone is.  It is not music to anyone’s ears.  So, we need to make our voices fluctuate and go up and down like we do when we are having a conversation or singing a song.


We have all heard children read in the most monotone voice ever, with no feeling and grasping to get the words correct.  How good it feels when those kids add their own personality in their reading, but how tedious to listen to when they revert back to monotoneness (I made that word up, but it seemed to really fit here).


We have taken a look at stopping appropriately at punctuation and making our voice go up in certain spots with question marks and exclamation points.  Now, we need to take a look at the other places where our voices go up and down.


The first thing to do is examine your own reading.  Do you read like you talk or sing, or are you kind of monotone yourself?  Some people read with great expression and some do not.  While you are reading with your child, you really want it to sound more like a conversation when you are reading instead of just reading every word in one tone or note.


Our kids will model the way that we read.  It is amazing how when my first daughter started reading, she started with the most amazing fluctuation in her reading, because that is all she knew.  She listened to her mom read since she was in the womb and I don’t know how to read without expression.    I found that with reading with other kids, they tap into my energy very quickly.  If I am enthusiastic about what I am reading, then they mimic that enthusiasm in their own reading.  Modeling is KEY!  So being aware of your own reading is the first step.


The second step is to recognize when the child you are reading with does make his/her voice go up and down.  Praise him/her for it.  I promise you, he or she will remember what you are praising and continue to produce that for you.


The third step is to go back to highlighting the words that go up green and the words that seem to go down red.  This will make it visual for your child to see what is happening.  You can do this with an e-book or a book that you own.  For obvious reasons do not try this strategy with a library book.  LOL


Go ahead and make reading a musical experience for everyone’s ears.  Make your voice go up and down, and encourage your child when his/her voice goes up and down.


P.S. Go start your musical reading experience.  I am rooting for you all the way.


  1. Hi Joanne
    An interesting post for me
    When my eldest son was young I used to try to explain this to him – the concept of putting different tones in to his reading aloud.
    However he was subsequently diagnosed with Aspergers, and a characteristic of this condition is the lack of expression in the voice – so I kind of felt guilty for trying to get him to do something that he actually wasn’t able to an had no concept of!
    However it is a wonderful thing you are doing for children – I cannot imagine my life without my sheer love of reading
    Thank you

    • You are so right, this is not a technique for everyone. It is so wonderful that you spent the time helping your son and know this. I worked in a classroom that had 50% kids with autism. The inflection would not be the focus for a child with this disorder.

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