Writing Dialogue Part 2: Comics and a Freebie

As promised, I am back for Part 2 of my Writing Dialogue posts.

You can read the ideas I shared in my post on Writing Dialogue Part 1 by clicking HERE!

I am here to share with you the last couple of activities we did during our unit and to share a freebie that contains all handouts found in both blog posts! Click HERE to grab the freebie!!

After we discussed the rules to punctuating dialogue, students received a copy of the punctuating dialogue rules posters to add to their writing notebooks.

I then typed up a passage from the current book we are reading together as a class, Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. I made sure to choose a page with a lot of dialogue switching back and forth, as well as a narrative so that students could practice editing. I typed it up without any quotation marks or punctuation, and made enough copies for each student.

Each student received a copy of the un-edited version of the dialogue to glue into their writers notebooks.

I modeled the correct punctuation with the students by putting my notebook under my Elmo Document Camera so we could punctuate the paragraph together.

This can be a tough concept for many writers, so I used the gradual release of responsibility. They were not quite ready to do the editing on their own.

The next day during writing, we did a center activity. I have to admit that this was one of those teachable moments. I thought that my students felt pretty confident with indentation, punctuation, and editing of the dialogue, but after conferencing with a few students one-on-one, I was very surprised to see that a few still were not quite there. So, as we teachers do, I whipped out this little group “center” during my planning to allow my students a little more practice, and to get students out of their seats to reach those kinesthetic learners.

I quickly typed up a bunch of dialogue tags, quotation marks, commas, question marks, and un-edited sentences and threw them into envelopes. The students had to take each individual part out of their envelope and correctly put it back together.

Here are the groups working together to put the dialogue together correctly with the correct punctuation and an appropriate dialogue tag. Once they successfully completed this, they transferred each correctly punctuated quote onto a recording sheet.

This was an awesome opportunity for me to walk the room to get a better feel for those students struggling with this concept and to decide whether or not we could move on to the final lesson on the next day.

The next day was the culminating activity to our dialogue unit, and the students were SUPER PUMPED because it involved comics! My students LOVE comics, so needless to say they were happy to practice another day of editing dialogue if it involved some cheesy humor! If you don’t get the Sunday Newspaper, you can find some great comics to print and laminate for future use HERE!

 After teaching some of my students about comics, and how the author uses speech bubbles and no dialogue tags, I put students into new groups. Side note: If you are looking to quickly assess your students understanding in a group activity, don’t put them in mixed-ability groups. Instead, make your groups high/low. Often times when your groups are mixed-ability, your higher students may come out as leaders and do all the work, leaving your students who struggle with that particular concept to sit back and let those high students do all the work. With a level playing field, every student will be required to work together and add something to the group! 

Students had to re-write the dialogue from the comics the correct way as if they were writing a story. They were to give the characters names if the names weren’t stated in the comic, they were to add dialogue tags, and they could add 1-2 lines of a made-up story to their comic strip.

They were to first write everything out on a piece of lined paper, then once each group had their paper checked by me, I had them transfer their work to an anchor chart/poster board.

Once students finished, I posted them around the room for students to refer to throughout our writing. Here is the finished product from one group!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Enjoy the freebie!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


  1. This is a great lesson! I’ve been struggling with how to best get my kids to correctly use dialoge. I just know that these lessons will help make it clear. I appreciate you sharing it for free. Thank you for being a great resource!

  2. Awesome! I am so happy you can use it with your students! Thanks so much for your kind words!

  3. This is amazing! I love every step!! I need your super powers. I’ve saved both posts and can’t wait to put it into action!

    I really appreciate the freebies even though the detailed lesson alone makes for a great post.
    Thank you so much for the inspiration.

    A fellow Michiganer,

  4. WHat a creative idea to use a comic strip to teach how dialogue looks different in different genres. I especially like the idea of taking the dialogue in the strip to organize it as dialogue within a paragraph! I would love to do something like this with my kiddos when we get to that point :)


  5. I am so happy you all are able to use it with your kids!! I swear I don’t have super powers and most nights go home and die on my couch with reality TV!! Thank you all so much for your SWEET SWEET comments! :) Thanks for visiting too!

  6. I loved seeing all the pictures! It gave me some great ideas of how to use this with my 2nd graders!

    2nd Grade Pad

  7. Anonymous says:

    I love this idea. I pre tested my groups as I teach 6th. The group who needed more practice did the comics on their own after a mini lesson. I like how you had them do in a group. I think I will use the envelopes for re teaching and then do one comic in a group. More hands on the better.

    FYI Middle group wrote dialogue between two characters who wouldn’t talk (Sponge Bob and Dr. Phil) . The group who got dialogue studied plays and wrote one scene in the middle school. I hope you don’t mind me sharing.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hi! Great ideas! I love your rug too! Where did you get it?

  9. Thank you!! I got the rug this past summer at Big Lots. Isn’t it cute? Kristen from Ladybugs Teaching Files gave me the tip on it!

  10. Anonymous says:

    These two dialogue lessons are terrific. Do you have any suggestions for realistic fiction picture books that have great dialogue.

  11. What a great unit!!! My school is big on gradual release of responsibility and UDL so I’m excited to use your ideas!! Thanks for posting

  12. Anonymous says:

    Great idea! Thank you for sharing!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Brilliant! That’s my planning done! Thanks so much.

  14. Love this idea! Thank you!
    I am using this in Creative Writing to reiterate correct indenting and punctuation.

    1. Kristine Nannini says:

      That’s so great to hear! Thanks so much for your comments, Danielle!

  15. Jennifer Norton says:

    Yes! I needed to see this for my students tonight! THANK YOU for putting the time into sharing this wonderful lesson!

    1. Kristine Nannini says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Jennifer!

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