Dialogue Writing Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

What is dialogue and how can it be used effectively in writing? This lesson plan features a text lesson designed to provide key facts about dialogue. A pair and share activity gives students practice analyzing and using dialogue in writing.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define dialogue
  • discuss appropriate usage of dialogue in writing
  • list rules to use when punctuating dialogue


1 hour

Curriculum Standards


Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.


Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.


Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1-3 above.)


  • Paper copies of the text lesson: How to Use Dialogue in Writing
  • A worksheet created using the quiz from the associated text lesson
  • Photocopies of text excerpts that feature dialogue
  • Highlighters


  • Begin by asking the class to discuss the following questions in an open format:
    • What is dialogue?
    • When is dialogue used?
  • Write key points on the board.
  • Pass out the paper copies of the text lesson to the class, one per student.
  • Instruct the class to read the 'Introduction' section of the text lesson.
    • Why is it best to contain dialogue in the body of an essay?
    • In the example passage, why was it necessary for Anne Lamott to tell readers exactly what her friend said?
    • Can you think of any specific rules to consider for punctuating dialogue?
  • Ask the class to read the remainder of the text lesson now.
    • How do you know when to use a period, question mark or exclamation point with dialogue?
    • When is dialogue attribution appropriate?
  • Review key points about dialogue from the text lesson with the class, answering any remaining questions.
  • Pass out the worksheet to the class now, one copy per student.
  • Instruct the class to work independently to complete the worksheet.
  • When all students have completed the worksheet, review each question and answer with the class as students self-correct their papers.

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