Where is the Dialogue?

My third-grade writers seem to have great intentions when it comes to adding dialogue to their pieces. However, those attempts often feel flat, full of errors or they just plain forget to put any into their writing. This past week we spent a lot of time thinking about ways we could add dialogue as well as the proper way to punctuate. We started by looking at examples of dialogue in books we were reading. Students copied down examples of dialogue and we shared those examples with each other. We noticed things like where do the quotation marks go, commas, tags, and other conventions.

I made a chart of some types of dialogue examples we found to be most common and then students went to look at their own writing to see what changes they could make to correct the dialogue in their own stories.

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The next day I presented the students with a story that lacked any dialogue but had obvious areas it would likely fit. Students cut up the story adding their own conversations. They really enjoyed this and sharing our work at the end was interesting as students noticed the way the many different conversations changed the original story.

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I promised the kids we would try this again in the coming week. I’m hoping that by getting in a groove with adding dialogue and finding ways to include conversation intentionally in their stories it might become a more natural detail they find themselves gravitating toward instead of avoiding altogether.