Using Dialogue to Inspire Writers

Feb 28, 2019

Our young readers and writers in first grade have many "tools" in their toolbox by this time of year.  It can rewarding to the student (and teacher) to see them trying out some of their new skills through writing.  Just last month, one of my striving readers started to really notice quotation marks in the books from her intervention group and tried to utilize this observation in her writing. observing her writing, there is a lot we can work on here.  But the excitement to add this new learning into writing is there.  And we will run with that!  Let's look at where to begin.

First up...introducing dialogue with a mentor text.  The possibilities of books with dialogue are endless.  Truly.  But one that I wanted to introduce to you (or remind you of) is Iris and Walter.  If you are a fan of Henry and Mudge, Annie and Snowball, Mr. Putter, or Frog and Toad, then this is another series to add to your library.

Iris and Walter are new friends.  Each book features a moment in the life of a kid: field trips, friendship, substitute teachers, and new babies.  The dialogue between them is very true to how you would imagine two friends talking.  This is why I like to use it when taking a closer look at dialogue in writing.  Here is an example of when Iris and Walter first meet each other.

After reading the mentor text and pointing out the dialogue, it is time for students to create some dialogue of their own.   I constructed a Powerpoint that provides the opportunity for you to scaffold your instruction into an "I do, we do, you do" model.

It begins with an introduction to dialogue with a definition, why it is used, and an example of two girls speaking.

It goes on to explain the parts of dialogue.

Then the students have the opportunity to construct two examples of dialogue with you.

Finally, it is time to set them free!  Let them try it out for themselves!

 Don't let me fool you.  This lesson does not guarantee that students will be experts at using dialogue in their writing.  But they may feel a bit more comfortable to give it a try.  Or they may begin to see the value in giving their characters a voice.

If you would like to try out this Powerpoint (for free!) just click on the image below.  If you would like your copy of THREE Iris and Walter books, please enter the giveaway below.
using dialogue to inspire writers
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I would love to hear about how you teach your young writers to use dialogue!  If you try this lesson out, let me know how it goes!  And be sure to check out all the other mentor texts that can build up the writers in your classroom in the list below!

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  1. I am always looking for a new book series for my kiddos! Thanks so much for your suggestion! This also sounds like a great lesson! I can't wait to try it with my twoodles! Thanks!

  2. This is very helpful! Thanks for sharing!! :)


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