These are activities designed to consolidate student understanding of the difference between direct and indirect speech.
• From a picture book or novel select an extract that contains both direct and indirect speech. Draw students’ attention to the use of inverted commas, or talking marks, as well as the use of other punctuation within the talking marks (for example, commas, full-stops, question marks and exclamation marks).
Then ask students to identify the actual words spoken by the character or characters and to use these to create a comic strip that shows what happens in the extract. (There are many software programs, such as Comic Creator, that will allow them to do this.)
• Select from a novel an extract in which there is a fair amount of indirect speech. Ask students to convert the indirect speech into a script. Pair students so that they can act out their script and check each other’s use of punctuation.
• Ask students to identify examples of reported speech in a newspaper or magazine interview and to give these to a peer whose task is to convert the reported speech into direct speech. For example, the reported speech might say:
- The actor said she always enjoyed coming to Australia because of the warmth and sunshine.
When written in direct speech, the item might read:
- The actor said, ‘’I always enjoy coming to Australian because of the warmth and sunshine.”
Another student could check the direct speech and provide feedback and a further activity might require students to write the questions that they think the interviewer might have asked.
• Students write a report of what was said in a role-played panel interview. Brainstorm the names of famous people, living or dead. Select six names to be on a panel and allot roles to selected students.
All students write questions that they would like to ask these people.
Each student in the audience selects a person on whom they will report, and as the role-play occurs, students take notes in order to be able to write a report of what was said. The report should contain at least two examples of reported speech (indirect speech) and two examples of direct speech. (You might consider videoing the interviews in case students need to view more than once.
The Punctuation element on http://www.otisa.com.au contains further online interactive student activities designed to consolidate an understanding of punctuation.