4 rules to use when teaching dialogue in writing

short story writing
Nicole at Apple Tree Resources
4 rules to use when teaching dialogue in writing

Who knows how to teach dialogue in writing anyway!? If you're asking yourself that question, this episode is for you! In today's episode, I share the first 4 rules to use when teaching dialogue in writing. Using these rules will allow you to feel more confident when teaching writing skills that will help build stronger writers within your classroom. Tune in to learn more!


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Freebie: 4 Rules of Writing Dialogue / Dialogue Examples


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Hey, lovely educators! Welcome back to another episode of Let's Chat Teaching with your host, Nicole Sanders. I hope you've all had an amazing week filled with inspiration and a touch of that teaching magic. Today, we're diving headfirst into a topic that often gets overlooked in the classroom – teaching our students the art of writing dialogue in their short stories.

Now, let me just say, that I never received a crash course in dialogue writing from my kindergarten to twelfth-grade years, and even in university English classes, it was a bit of a mystery. So, I'm thrilled to share with you four simple rules that can serve as the foundation for dialogue mastery in the grade five to eight classrooms.

Rule number one: Quotation marks are your dialogue buddies. Throw those double quotation marks around a character's words every time they speak. It's like a neon sign for your reader, saying, "Hey, someone's talking here!"

Rule number two: The unsung heroes of dialogue: dialogue tags. These little guys (think 'said,' 'exclaimed,' or 'moaned') tell the reader how and who is saying what. Quick tip: If there's a question mark or exclamation point inside the dialogue, keep the tag lowercase. It's all about maintaining that sentence structure harmony.

Rule number three: When actions happen before or after the dialogue, treat them as separate sentences. For example, "Isla entered the room. 'Hey, I'm home,' she said." It keeps things clear and avoids reader confusion.

And last but certainly not least, rule number four: New speaker, new paragraph. When a different character starts chatting, hit the 'Enter' key for a fresh paragraph. It's like giving each character their own spotlight, complete with an indentation to mark the change in speech. Easy peasy, right?

Teaching dialogue in short stories is all about clarity and making it an enjoyable experience for your students and their future readers. Remember, good writing is warm, inviting, and not a puzzle that readers need to solve. These four rules lay the groundwork for that seamless reading experience.

Now, for those of you who, like me, are 80% visual learners, fret not! I've got you covered. Head over to appletreeresources.com/writingdialogue for a freebie containing these four golden rules and a sheet of examples to make your life (and your student's lives) even easier.

Before we wrap up, a quick shoutout to all the amazing teachers out there. If you're looking to make short story writing a breeze in your classroom, check out "Short Story Writing Made Easy," an online professional development course designed just for you. Head to appletreeresources.com/courses for all the juicy details.

Thank you for joining me on this dialogue-writing adventure today. Remember, teaching is a journey of growth, and sometimes, diving into the unknown is the best way to learn.

Until next time, happy teaching!





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