Tone and Voice: Helping Students Develop Voice Through Tone Isaac Thompson NSTWP Summer Institute June 9, 2004
What is Voice? • Voice is hearing the exclamation point, even when it’s not there. • A bond that says, “I want to let you in.” • It’s the passion that makes words dance. • The choreography of the writing. • Voice is the writer reaching out to the reader. (Spandel 164)
“…if your voice has been silenced for too long, let the idea of writing begin to take hold, to gnaw and to push and to build, until, like a pressure cooker full of fresh corn, it will start to leak out in sprays of hissing steam.”Nancy Slonim Aronie
How are tone and voice related? • Voice is the overall impact. • Tone is the emotion that comes from word choice. • Tone leads to Voice.
How can we help students distinguish different voices in writing? • Have students read books, poems, newspaper articles, and magazine articles that have distinctive voice. • Read two articles on the same subject, but with different viewpoints. • Have students compare and contrast the voices. • Have students use their own writing and look for the voice. (Spandel 161-162)
“Writing with voice is writing into which someone has breathed. It has that fluency, rhythm, and liveliness that exist naturally in the speech of most people when they are enjoying a conversation…” Peter Elbow, Writing with Power
What is tone vocabulary? • A group of words that has either a positive, negative, or neutral connotation. • Words that express certain emotions.
Anticipation Set: • Divide students into groups of four. • Read aloud a piece that you think has an interesting tone or distinctive voice. • Ask students to listen for words that help them figure out the author’s tone. • After reading, ask student’s what words they located. • List words on the board.
Group Practice: • Pass out articles to groups. • Have one person read the group’s article aloud. • Ask group to keep a list of words from the article that helped them determine how the author feels. • As a class, we will discuss each group’s article. Each group will present a summary of their article to the class, as well as the group’s list.
Distribute Tone Vocabulary List. Have students select one entry from their writing notebooks. Have students reread their piece, looking for tone. Look at the Tone Vocabulary List. Have students rewrite their piece using a different tone. Independent Practice:
TEKS Connection:(E) select and use voice and style appropriate to audience and purpose (6-8);(F) choose the appropriate form for his/her own purpose for writing such as journals, letters, editorials, reviews, poems, memoirs, narratives, and instructions (7-8);
Works Cited Aronie, N.S. (1998). Writing From the Heart: Tapping the Power of Your Inner Voice. New York: Hyperion. Elbow, P. (1986). Embracing Contraries. New York: Oxford University Press. Fletcher, R. (1993). What a Writer Needs. Portsmouth, NH: Heineman. Spandel, V. (2001). Creating Writers through 6-Trait Writing Assessment and instruction. 3rd Ed. New York: Longman.