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Lesson Plan

Choosing Clear and Varied Dialogue Tags: A Minilesson

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Choosing Clear and Varied Dialogue Tags: A Minilesson

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Minilesson
Estimated Time 50 minutes
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia


National Council of Teachers of English


Materials and Technology






  • Picture book which includes dialogue among the characters

  • Chart paper and markers

  • Transparency of the Dialogue Tags Revision Activity, using an excerpt from Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls (Yearling Books, 1998), or a similar passage from a novel the class has read which relies primarily on the dialogue tag "said"

  • Overhead projector

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Dialogue Tags handout

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  • Make copies of the Dialogue Tags handout.

  • Test the Dialogue Tags interactive on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tool and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.

  • Choose a picture book which includes dialogue. This lesson uses Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss (Random House, 1958); however, any picture book which demonstrates a variety of dialogue tags will work.

  • Make a transparency of the excerpt from Summer of the Monkeys or another passage you may have chosen for this lesson.

  • Additional background information on writing dialogue can be found at the Collaborating to Write Dialogue page.

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