Who Said That?

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SWBAT analyze dialogue tags to identify who is speaking in a narrative.

Big Idea

Readers can learn about characters and story events by paying attention to what the characters say and how they say it.

Do Now

20 minutes

I told students that what character say in a story is called dialogue. Dialogue is when two or more characters talk to each other. Readers can use dialogue to identify a speaker and prevent the reader from getting confused about what is happening in the story. What a character says is identified in quotation marks. The author lets the reader know who is talking by writing things like, she said, he asked. These are called dialogue tags. Dialogue tags are statements that identify a speaker within written dialogue. They sometimes indicate HOW they said it to let the reader know how a character feels or behaves, i.e. he said with a smile, she said jumping up and down. The boy is happy. The girl is jumping up and down. Additionally, it helps the reader understand the story better if they read the dialogue as if they were the character. 

I displayed the first page of the first chapter of Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan on the document camera. I modeled how to identify a character's dialogue via a Think Aloud. (See script.)

After the think aloud, I instructed students to turn to page 2. They laid their transparencies over the page. I guided them through identifying dialogue on the page and underlining what they said and circling who said it with their dry-erase markers. I also had them read the dialogue as if they were the character. Having students read dialogue fluently aids in comprehension. Also, auditory and linguistic learners benefit from reading and hearing dialogue read aloud.


Independent Practice

20 minutes

Students worked in pairs to identify dialogue and who said it. We created a three-pocket Foldable and labeled each pocket with the name of a character. As they re-read chapter 1, they searched for instances of character dialogue. They read it aloud in the character’s voice, then wrote the character’s dialogue on a strip of paper and placed it in the appropriate pocket.


5 minutes

Ticket Out the Door - Before today’s lesson, did you know how to determine who was talking in a story? How did today's lesson help you? I wanted to give students time to reflect on their learning. Giving students time to think about strategies that helped them learn encourages them use those strategies in the future.