“Ahhhh!” A scream pierced the air. It was my English teacher, reading an incorrectly punctuated line of dialogue for the 178th time in two days. Clearly she had reached her breaking point. She put her head on her desk and it appeared she was breathing more heavily than usual.
“Should we do something?” whispered Ashley, from the seat next to me.
“Well,” I answered, “you did one thing right. You remembered that when writing dialogue, a new speaker always means the start of a new paragraph. That’s rule number one.”
Ashley smiled. “What a relief,” she said.
If you feel like the English teacher in the dialogue above, you probably already know why you need this. It's a two-page dialogue that explains the ten most common rules of writing, indenting, punctuating, and attributing dialogue. There is a writing assignment embedded in the narrative.
-An optional worksheet at the end where kids can write the ten rules of dialogue as they find them in the passage.
-Some tips to personalize the dialogue for a specific class or adapt it to different grade levels.
Roxanna Elden is the author of See Me After Class: Advice for Teachers by Teachers, a staple in school districts and educator training programs throughout the country. Her satirical workplace novel, Adequate Yearly Progress, follows several teachers as their professional lives crash into their personal lives and vice versa. She also works one-on-one with teachers nationwide in virtual Office Hours sessions. You can find more information, plus her weekly teaching-related newsletter, at roxannaelden.com.