Patterns of Rhythm, Stress and intonation


Patterns of Rhythm, Stress and intonation          Subject English Grade 3

                         Students’ learning outcomes

·         Reproduce in speech, appropriate pattern of rhythm, stress and intonation through listening to stories and poems read aloud in class.

                         Information for Teacher

·         Intonation patterns: it is the variation in the pitch of the speaker’s voice used to give information or change of meaning.
·         There are three basic pitches in English. These are normal, high and low.
·         The normal pitch is where the voice usually is.
·         High is where the voice rises to indicate information focus.
·         Low is where the voice falls, usually at the end of sentence.
·         Stress: some syllables are stronger than other syllables and called stress. When we put emphases on a word or sentence it becomes a stress word or a stressed sentence.
·         Importance of stress is that the position of stress can change the meaning of the word.


                                          Statement 1: I can do my work.

                                          Statement 2: I can do my work.

Syllable is a group of letters that has one vowel (a,i,e,o,u) sound in it.
 Use of punctuation marks: Full stop (.) shows that the sentence is a complete, comma (,) shows a short pause, exclamation mark (!) represent emotions like happiness, sorrow, shock, fear, question mark (?) shows an inquiry of a problem.
Patterns of Rhythm, Stress and intonation
While teaching the lesson, the teacher should also use the textbook where appropriate.

Material / Resources

                                   Chalk, board, markers, textbook, duster etc.


             Activity 1

·         Discuss with students that, in English, we give stress to some words while some words are quickly spoken (some student say eaten!). We quickly speak, or swallow, a number of words in a sentence.
·         Tell the students that we mostly stress nouns, adjectives, action words, etc. which are also called CONTENT WORDS.
·         Write the lines on the board  and ask students to read them together:
·         “ I won’t go to school tomorrow,”
                Sadia informed Ali,
·           “ Why not?”
·         “I am going to attend a marriage ceremony. It will be great fun!”
·          “Okay, see you on Monday; then enjoy your time!”
·          “Thanks. Allah Hafiz!”
·            Activity 2
·         There are different intonation patterns used for different types of sentence. The intonation pattern for statement, is basically the same. The voice starts at a normal pitch, rises at the intonation focus word, falls back to normal after the intonation focus word, and falls to low at the end of the sentence.
·         Tell the students that statement are sentences that report or give information about something, someone or some event.
·         Ask the students to read in pairs the dialogues written on the board and practise the stress and punctuation patterns for five minutes.

            Activity 3

Write the poem on the blackboard:
A little old man
A little old man and I fell out;
How shall we bring this matter about?
Bring it about as well as you can;
Get you gone, you little old man.
·         Model reading where teacher reads and children listen.
·         When children read the poem ask them to stop on a full stop (.) and count 123 in their heart. At punctuation mark ask them to say 12 in their heart and then start again; when comma comes left them say 1 in their heart silently.
·         This exercise provides the students with effective training of pauses required to be taken in the spoken text. It is good for producing effective speech pattrens.

           Activity 4

·         Student read (in pairs) then poem written on the board and practice the rhythm, stress and punctuation patterns for five minutes.
·         Chanting: Students read / recite and repeat.
Activity 5
·         Arrange a class competition and ask the students to read the poem in pairs. The best pair must get a star.
Sum up / Conclusion
·         Ask  students about the importance of intonation and rhythm in language.
·         Remind them that stress and intonation can change the meaning, and it also makes our speech interesting and expressive.


·         Assess the students through their responses by checking their pronunciation.
·          Involve the students in solving the problems given in the exercise at the end of unit/ chapter.

Follow Up

Ask the students to:
·         Read the following sentences showing the required expression.
·         I can’t come tomorrow. (using the emotion of sorrow / anger in their voice.)
·         It is my birthday today. (expression- excitement)
·         There is a snake in the bathroom. ( expression – fear )

·         Practice reading the poem with stress and intonation.

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