Grade: 4th

Interest Building Activity:

On the board, have the following conversation written out.

“Get dressed. We’re going outside!” Mom said.

“Where are we going?” Kate said.

“It’s a surprise.” Mom said.

“Please give me a hint!” Kate said.

“Well, ok. It’s a place where there’s water.” Mom said.

“The beach?” Kate said.

“No…” Mom said.

“The water park?” Kate said.

“Yes! You guessed right!” Mom said.

Ask students to read the dialogue to themselves. Then choose one student to read the dialogue out loud. Ask the class if they think anything seems wrong in any way with the dialogue. See if anyone comes up with the fact that the dialogue is very monotonous, saying “said” over and over again.

Lesson Development:

Explain to students that they will hear the story of Snow White, which many of them probably know. Let them know that as they listen to the story, you want them to pay attention to the ways the author indicates that someone has said something. This will help them figure out other ways to say “said” when they’re writing their own dialogue. As students hear the story being read, have them raise a quiet thumb as they hear an alternate word for “said”. Write these words on a board.

Some of the words to describe dialogue that are used in the story of Snow White: asked, replied, insisted, inquired.

Ask students how the words they identified are better than saying the word, “said” for every piece of dialogue. They should come up with something along the lines of that doing so adds variety to the sentences, and better describes the mood and tone of the dialogue. Now, go back to the example written on the board. Erase all the words “said”. Have students get out their notebooks and write down what’s on the board, filling in new words in replacement of the words “said” that were erased.

“Get dressed. We’re going outside!” Mom exclaimed.

“Where are we going?” Kate asked.

“It’s a surprise.” Mom informed her.

“Please give me a hint!” Kate begged.

“Well, ok. It’s a place where there’s water.” Mom hinted.

“The beach?” Kate asked.

“No…” Mom started.

“The water park?” Kate asked.

“Yes! You guessed right!” Mom exclaimed.


Have students write out a small story of their own with at least five pieces of dialogue between the characters. Let them know they can use any word to describe the dialogue except the word “said”.