Dialogue Writing Activities

Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

Written dialogue is an important component of creative writing. These activities provide your students with a variety of dialogue-writing opportunities to hone this skill.

Writing Dialogue

One of our major modes of communication is the verbal conversation. Therefore, it is important for writers to know how to properly record dialogue. Dialogue writing is a relevant activity for ESL students, creative writing students, theater students, and any student looking to master English grammar. The following activities can be adapted to suit upper elementary and middle school students.

Activity: Punctuate It!

Objective: Insert correct punctuation into a conversation.

Materials: A written conversation with all punctuation removed

  • Preparation: Choose a passage of dialogue at your students' reading level. Type it up, removing all capitalization and punctuation.
  • As a class, review the rules for punctuating written dialogue.
  • Distribute the passage of dialogue.
  • Individually or with a partner, students rewrite the passage with appropriate punctuation and capitalization.
  • Extension: Students write an original dialogue and remove the punctuation and capitalization. Students then exchange original dialogues with a peer so the peer can add the punctuation and capitalization.

Activity: Cumulative Group Dialogue

Objective: As a class, write a dialogue.

Materials: Chalkboard/whiteboard/chart paper

  • Seat students in a circle around a chalkboard, whiteboard, or chart paper.
  • Review your expectations for good written dialogue.
  • Designate a topic for the dialogue.
  • The first student speaks a line of dialogue, then writes it on the board.
  • The next student adds a second line of dialogue and writes it on the board.
  • Continue around the circle, with each student adding to the written conversation.
  • In the end, read your cumulative dialogue aloud.
  • Extension: Do this activity a few different times. Groups of students prepare and perform the group dialogues for another class.

Activity: Dialogue Journal

Objective: Write a dialogue recording a personal experience.

Materials: Paper and pencil

  • Review the elements of good written dialogue.
  • Each day, students write one conversation reflecting something that happened to them that day.
  • Continue the assignment for at least a week.
  • Length requirement for the assignment depends on the age and needs of your students.

Activity: Descriptive Dialogue

Objective: Write a dialogue inspired by a picture.

Materials: Photographs/pictures/posters of people

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