School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 3

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 5. Use elements of drama to facilitate understanding

Objective d. Identify and explain stage directions and dialogue that help to create character


Students should read a scene in an age-appropriate play. The teacher should select a speech to which a stage direction is attached that details how that line should be spoken. The teacher should ask several students to read aloud the line while duplicating the manner dictated by the stage directions. Next students should discuss what effect the stage directions have on the meaning of the words. Then the teacher should alter the stage directions so that the speech should be read in a different manner. Selected students should read the line following the new stage directions. A discussion should address the changed effect of the words and how stage directions that affect dialogue can affect the development of a character.


After students have read a scene from an age-appropriate play, the teacher should isolate a speech to which a stage direction is attached. The teacher and students should discuss the effect the stage direction has upon the delivery of the words and draw a conclusion about the character based upon the manner the words are spoken. Next, the teacher and students should discuss how believable the character appears based upon how the character speaks and acts.


Prior to this activity, the teacher should organize a web that has at its center the name of a character in an age-appropriate play. Coming from the center of the web are the qualities that the character possesses. Working with a partner or in small groups, the students should find the stage directions or speeches that support those characteristics.