The boys and girls have learned about adding dialogue to their stories using a method I call "said/replied/said".
I've explained to the students that it's the perfect starting point for new creative writers. As they become more confident, they can branch out and change "said" and possibly even "replied" to all kinds of other, more expressive words. At this stage in their writing careers, it's important to have a good foundation and be able to do the following:
- use quotation marks correctly
- understand that characters don't just "say" things to each other, they also reply to one another
- most stories include interesting dialogue that moves the plot along (we don't just have characters talking for the sake of talking)
That's a lot for kids to take in and demonstrate, which is why I created a type of formula to assist with this. Once the boys and girls master this approach, they know they are welcome to switch things up a bit in terms of the dialogue format.
I like using the formula approach in many aspects of my instruction because I feel as though it makes success within reach for all students.