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Reading with Expression Activity Free Emotion Sticks

Need to encourage kids to read with expression? Use these fun emoticon sticks to help them identify different types of emotions in texts as they practice reading their sentences with emotion and expression. Kids will LOVE these emoticon sticks!

Reading with Expression Activity

***NB: the sight word sentence card booklets you’re seeing in this post are from the posters in this pack here for Fry’s First 100.***

What you’ll need to prep these sticks:

  • Popsicle sticks (find these here).
  • A4 paper
  • Laminator
  • Sticky tape or glue
  • Printable emoticon templates (at the end of this blog post)

Reading with Expression Activity

How to assemble the emoticon sticks:

Print as many sets of the emoticon images as you need (I printed two pages on one standard A4 sized paper) – the emoticon sizes were perfect for the popsicle sticks. Glue or sticky tape each emoticon face (after you’ve laminated and cut them apart) to each popsicle stick. Place the sticks into a container so that kids can choose them at random.

Reading Expressions Emotion Sticks

These sticks can be used in several ways to get the kids motivated to practice reading with expression. Here are some ways I use them:

Game: split the class in two teams. Have each team member take turns choosing an emoticon stick. These can be used while reading their sight word sentences or any fictional book you’re studying or reading in class. Group 1’s player reads a sentence out loud using an expression that matches the expression on the emoticon stick. Group 2 tries to identify the emotion and if the group identifies the emotion correctly – they get a point and as a result group 1 earns 2 points for correctly reading with expression. They continue this until one group earns 20 points!

Reading with Expression Activity

Sight Word Sentences: I use this activity when reading our simple sight word sentences during literacy centers. The kids LOVE this activity. While they work in groups, I use my Sight Word Sentence Posters in groups as kids take turns reading the sentences. The first group member will choose an emoticon stick at random, next they will read the first sentence in the booklet in a tone that matches the emoticon’s expression (no matter what the sentence says). For example, if the sentence reads “The boy eats his lunch.” and they choose an angry emoticon stick, they will try to read that sentence in an angry tone. This in turn helps kids identify that the tone of voice is very important when reading a book as it can add to the meaning of the text.

Reading with Expression Activity

Ready to download?

Before you download this free pack, you agree to the following:

  • This set is for personal / classroom use only.
  • All clip-art used in this pack are used with permission.
  • This printable may not be sold, hosted, reproduced, or stored on any other website or electronic retrieval system.
  • All materials on this website are copyright protected.
  • You may not distribute this resource to a large number of teachers / personnel. Please refer them to this website to download their own copy.


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