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Language Arts, Writing, Punctuation, Traits of Writing

Grade 1- 3


Students learn about dialogue and ways to use dialogue in writing stories.


Discuss with students the process of writing stories. Focus on the characters within a story. As a class, discuss the following dialogue example.

When your characters start talking to each other, that is called dialogue. Dialogue helps you to show what a character is like.

If someone falls down and your character says, "Hah! That was pretty funny!" that tells the reader what your character is like. If instead your character says, "Are you okay?" that says something different about your character.

Imagine two characters. One is nasty and the other is nice. Think about what each character might say in each of the situations.

Nasty Nice
To a new boy at school "You can't play." "Come play with us."
To someone who has just offered an invitation to a party
To the substitute teacher
To a parent who has said it's time for bed
To the teacher who says it's time to put away the equipment

Challenge: Listen to dialogue wherever you go. Listen to people of all ages in all kinds of places. Write down interesting sayings, expressions, or accents you hear. Using the activity above write the responses you might imagine from a timid character, a funny character, a smart character, or an athletic character.

For Younger Students: Take dictation as they think of how one type of person might respond as opposed to another: For instance, to the new boy in school, the nasty character might say, "Get lost," or "Go away!" The nice character might say, "Hello," or "Do you want to play with us?" Be sure they realize that this activity is not about any real person they know or themselves; it is about fictional characters that they are imagining.


  • Yakety-Yak! activity page (one per student)
  • pencils
  • paper (for Challenge activity)

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