Reading Tone and Style Study Guide

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Updated on Sep 29, 2011

Reading Tone and Style

In this lesson, you'll discover that how an author puts all the words together in a selection can change the meaning and feelings you get from it.

AN AUTHOR SETS a purpose for writing, and then chooses words to express ideas. The words set a tone that, just like someone's tone of voice, will convey a feeling of suspense, excitement, happiness, sadness, anger, mystery, humor, or annoyance. Choosing the right words can make a selection funny, sad, creepy, serious, mysterious, scary, or fanciful. Different parts of a selection may convey different feelings. But there should be one clear tone for the whole selection.

An author's style is his or her distinctive way of connecting ideas. You can easily spot some authors' styles. Like Dr. Seuss … everyone recognizes his rhyming and made-up words! It may not be so easy to recognize other authors' styles until you read a few of their selections. Then you begin to spot the length and difficulty of the sentences they use and their choices of descriptive words. Their writing may be informal or formal, friendly or bitter, fanciful or scientific, comical or dramatic, playful or serious.

The author's tone and style create an overall mood, the feeling you get when you read the selection. For example, see how the author's tone and style create a mysterious, frightening feeling in this scenario.

The sliver of moon disappeared behind the clouds, leaving us in the dark as we crept closer to the old house. The gusting wind whipped the shutters, slamming them against the wood siding. Suddenly I saw a flickering light in the upstairs window. Behind it was the face of a creature so hideous that I cannot describe it!

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

Reading Tone and Style Practice Exercises

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