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Follow the Dialogue

Tomorrow morning in Reading Workshop, I’ll be teaching a lesson with the following teaching point:

Readers keep track of who is speaking in a text, regardless of whether or not there are dialogue tags. The reason they do this is so they always know who is speaking.

I’m going to be using two passages from The Butterfly, by Patricia Polacco, which I’ll be reading aloud during Interactive Read Aloud. I selected the passages since there are just two characters talking on each of the pages, but in quite a few places, there are missing dialogue tags, which means it could get tough for a student to discern who is speaking.

These passages (pictured) can also be used when leading a strategy lesson in Writing Workshop with your students. Often kids don’t use dialogue tags when they’re writing; they assume that their reader will be able to follow the story. Perhaps, when making a case for why we need dialogue tags, one of these two pages from The Butterfly could be used. Have the kids follow along with who is speaking. Then, you can show any other pages from The Butterfly to show the students how much easier it is to follow the story when it’s clear who is speaking.

Stacey Shubitz View All

I am a literacy consultant who focuses on writing workshop. I've been working with K-6 teachers and students since 2009. Prior to that, I was a fourth and fifth-grade teacher in New York City and Rhode Island.

I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).

I live in Central Pennsylvania with my husband and children. In my free time, I enjoy swimming, doing Pilates, cooking, baking, making ice cream, and reading novels.

4 thoughts on “Follow the Dialogue Leave a comment

  1. I didn’t realize, when I posted this, that it wouldn’t be possible to make the image larger. Hence, here’s the scoop.

    For the demonstration, it’s the page that beings with the words: Sevrine motioned Monique to follow her. For the Active Engagement, the page I’m using begins with the words: Tears began to fill Sevrine’s eyes and roll down her cheeks.

    Hope that helps!


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