School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 2

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

Indicator 7. Identify and describe the author's use of language

Objective a. Explain how the use of dialogue contributes to a story


Select a book for a shared reading that has an abundance of dialogue. One text that carries dialogue all the way through the text is The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer. Explain to the students that what a character says in a text helps us learn about that person. After reading together the selected text, talk about the character based on the dialogue in the text. In our sample text, our character and problem are introduced on the first page and then the entire text is told through the dialogue between the young boy, Brian, and his mother. Each page begins with the mother questioning Brian and is followed by Brian’s response. Create a chart to record what readers learn about Brian through his words.

Things I know about Brian What Brian Says
Brian knows a lot about salamanders. He talks about all of the things he would do to make a comfortable place for the salamander to live.
Brian is creative. He answers his mother’s questions with answers that aren’t really possible for him to do.
Brian knows a lot about nature. He describes a habitat that includes many kinds of animals and plants.
Brian is determined. He has an answer for every question his mother poses.



Use the guided reading text in your small groups to analyze characters based on what they say or what others say about them. Choose texts that have rich dialogue to accomplish this. Reread the dialogue to chart what students learn about the main characters through their speech.


For students who have a secure sense of story choose a different text where dialogue plays a strong role in moving the story along. An example might be “Let’s get a Pup!” said Kate by Bob Graham. The conversation about dialogue in this book can begin with the title. These words are repeated as the opening words of the story and set the whole story in motion. Discuss the conversation that occurs on the first page between Kate and her parents. Are they receptive to the idea of getting a dog? What do we know about Kate and her parents from this conversation? (Kate has an idea and can’t wait for her parents to get out of bed to tell them. Her parents are in a good mood despite being awakened.) Read the dialogue on the next page to determine how the parents react to Kate’s idea. (Mom and Dad get excited too. Mom finds an idea in the paper and tells them and they take off.) Move on through the story until you reach the page where the author uses dialogue again. This time the dialogue reveals that the family has made a decision to take home the puppy they named Dave. Through the dialogue, we know that the family is very happy with their selection. However, on the next page discuss how the dialogue is used by the author to change the story. You can tell through the words in the dialogue and how the author describes the way the characters speak the words that the family would also like to take Rosy home. This changed the pace of the story. Read through the next pages to find the dialogue that occurs the next morning. The family reveals that no one slept and they leave the house quickly. To understand this action a reader must think about the dialogue that the parents had about Rosy as they were leaving the rescue center. Ask the students if they predicted where the family was going correctly when they read the story the first time. The author uses dialogue to reveal that the family is also adopting Rosy. On the next page the author uses dialogue to create new action in the story when the parents talk about giving the dog a bath. The author ends the story by confirming the wishes about having the pets that the family had revealed in the dialogue throughout the story. The author used dialogue in the story to trigger the action and move the story along.