Lesson plan

Developing Voice

Voice is the energy, intention, and personality behind a piece of writing or character, as shaped by the author. Writers will examine voice in story excerpts and then practice crafting voice on their own.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to identify voice in various pieces of writing and play with voice in their own writing.

(10 minutes)
  • Explain that you are going to read an excerpt from a book. While students listen, they should jot down notes about what they hear that gives clues about the character’s personality.
  • Read the excerpt on the worksheet Looking at Voice in Junie B. Jones.
  • Take student ideas about the character’s personality. Make notes in the margin on the sheet if you are able to project it.
(15 minutes)
  • Explain that the language choices that students noticed are examples of a writing skill called voice. Read the description of voice on the top of the page.
  • Now, re-read the excerpt asking students to pay particular attention to the language choices used by Barbara Park, the author. Pause and note them as you read as a class.
  • Looking over the notes from Junie B. Jones excerpt, discuss the question at the bottom.
  • Ask students if they have read any books lately that have strong voice.
(15 minutes)
  • Distribute the worksheet Looking at Voice in Bud, Not Buddy.
  • Instruct students to complete the exercise on their own and then compare their notes with a partner.
  • Discuss their notes and conclusions as a class.
(20 minutes)
  • Explain to students that they will now have the chance to try employing some of these strategies.
  • Distribute the worksheet Crafting Voice.
  • Review the instructions as a class and read through the examples.
  • Instruct students to complete the activity by trying their hand at crafting voice.
  • Share student examples with the class.
  • Support: Conduct a shared writing activity by crafting voice as a class. Together, select two “voices” and a topic. Do the writing for students to observe, but take suggestions from the class when it comes to language choices.

  • Enrichment: Have students use the back of their worksheet to generate three of their own “voices” (crabby, funny, nerdy, etc.) and write about a topic of their choice. Have them read the samples to the class and see if the class can guess the intended voice.
(10 minutes)
  • Provide students with a situation prompt, such as "A bad driver hitting your car." Have students choose a “voice” and write a response incorporating this tone. Share or turn in.
(5 minutes)
  • Have students share any books that they have recently read that have strong voice. Ask them to support their assertion.

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