I Can't Hear You: How Voice Develops Character

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SWBAT determine how authors use voice to show characters thoughts and feelings.

Big Idea

Students will recognize that authors use voice to convey a message and to engage their reader.


My own children have been playing baseball since they were 4. They are now 19 and 22, so I have come to love the game after years of watching them play. This is something I share with my students because many of them play or enjoy watching the game. In an effort to get the girls interested in baseball and to share an interesting fact with the boys about baseball, I share the book "Mighty Jackie" by Marissa Moss. I stumbled onto this book at the school book fair several years ago and thought it was a wonderful book to use for various reasons. We've been reading this book and exploring how characters actions, feelings, motivations, and emotions drive the plot or events in the story. In this lesson, we are still focusing on characters because there is a theme the author shares through the character Jackie. In  today's lesson I will show how the author uses voice to develop Jackie's character and share the theme or message of the story.  


15 minutes

We have been talking about reading for Key Ideas and Details in this unit. This involves looking at all aspects of the story including the events, the problem, the solution, and in this case, the characters. During this section of the lesson, I share a short section of a story I have been reading with one of my Guided Reading groups, Mighty Jackie by Marissa Moss. I do a modeled reading for my students looking at how the main characters and emotions lead us into the events that will probably take place in the story. As I read I think aloud about how the author describes Jackie and how she embellishes on her actions and how this leads us to understand Jackie as a character and how she feels. I ask students to listen to some of the words and phrases the character uses to talk to us about Jackie and share how this made them feel. I have some students share their thoughts. After the modeled reading session, I share with students that what the author has done is used voice to describe and share information about the character in the stories. Afterwards, we create an anchor chart entitled "How to Recognize Voice While Reading". As a class we list what the reader should do while reading when examining voice. Later, I tell students to think about the things readers should do as they are reading today on their own and in their guided reading groups.

Before Reading

5 minutes

As we begin to take another look at this story, we refer back to our Mighty Jackie Response Activity in the previous lesson Recognizing Plot or Not. In this lesson students focused their reading on looking at Jackie the main character and how her actions might affect the events in the story. We have a brief discussion about students conclusions and then move into reading the rest of the story.

During Reading

15 minutes

During this time, students are reading the story quietly to themselves. While students are reading, I have them think about Jackie so far in the story. Students' focus during reading is to look for how the author described Jackie and the type of character she was. Students were also looking at how the author showed Jackie's actions with words in the story. I ask students to highlight phrases and words that show the author painting a picture of the type of character Jackie is. In order for students to highlight words and phrases, I created a word document of the story that students could use highlighters on. I modeled this for students before they began using the section of the story we read in the previous lesson Recognizing Plot or Not. As students read, I ask several students to read to me for a quick assessment of their reading. To assess their comprehension, I have a few students read softly to me. I ask several questions pertaining to the focus of today's lesson to determine if students are comprehending the text. For those who are not I scaffold by reading with them and thinking aloud to guide their thinking while reading. 

After Reading

5 minutes

After students finished reading the story. I had a discussion with students about their observations of the author's voice in the story as it pertains to Jackie's character. We talked about some of the words the author used and the phrases she used to explain the way the main character felt and acted. Afterwards, I had students respond to the story by telling me how the story made them feel as they read it. I asked students to use details from the text to support how they felt. Students were asked to write their feelings and thoughts about the story by completing a response activity. To wrap up, we discussed how the author's voice help us see Jackie's character connects to the plot or events in the story.