Inferring Dialogue: An Activity to Practice Making Inferences & Quotation Marks

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The Gaming Grammarian
Grade Levels
7th - 12th, Higher Education, Adult Education
Resource Type
Formats Included
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80 pages
The Gaming Grammarian
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When I first introduce the concept of making inferences, my students always confuse them with observations. Rather than making an inference, they tell me what they can see. In order to combat this, I started asking them to imagine (infer) what the people might be thinking or saying—things they couldn’t see. This grew into a writing project and became the perfect activity for when we learned about quotation marks and how to use them.

This file contains two different file types (PowerPoint and PDF) for two different levels of the activity. The pictures in each activity are the same, the only difference is the location the students place the text (whether in a box to the side or in speech bubbles for each person). The later pictures have three people to provide dialogue among, rather than only two. I use the speech bubbles activity with students who have not yet learned about quotation marks. I use the writing dialogue activity with students who are either practicing using quotations, or have already mastered it and need a review. I generally do one or two examples together as a whole class and then allow students to work in pairs to complete the other pictures (there are 20 pictures total). Students can then share their results with the class or in a small group.

Once students have mastered writing the dialogue for a single picture, I will sometimes extend the activity by using wordless books. Each student, or group of students, is given a wordless book and a stack of sticky notes. They then write out the story, including the dialogue, as they imagine the author would have written it, sticking the notes on the pages of the book as necessary.

Total Pages
80 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
Use commas and quotation marks in dialogue.
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.


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