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Direct speech and indirect speech – 9 of the best resources and worksheets for KS2 SPaG

Help children know when and how to use speech marks in direct speech, and why not to use them in indirect speech, with these lessons, activities, worksheets and more for Key Stage 2 grammar...

  • Direct speech and indirect speech – 9 of the best resources and worksheets for KS2 SPaG

What is direct speech?

Direct speech in writing is where you are writing down a direct quotation of someone’s actual words, and these are marked by inverted commas eg “I’ll meet you at the library tomorrow morning,” Sharon said.

What is indirect speech?

Indirect speech (or reported speech), on the other hand, is where you are given a rough approximation of what someone said, not their exact words, and doesn’t require quotation/speech marks, eg ‘Sharon told them she’d see them in the library tomorrow.’

What are inverted commas?

Inverted commas go before and after direct speech, surrounding what was said.

Direct speech examples

  • “I’m tired,” she yawned.
  • “What’s that sound?” he asked. “It’s coming from under the floorboards!” Elle replied.
  • The police officer shouted, “There they are!”

Indirect speech examples

  • Mrs Weismann asked you to go see her in her office.
  • My dad told me to clear up my room.
  • Jerry said he found the book out in the playground.

1 | Getting speech punctuation right at KS2 guide

Perfectly punctuating dialogue is something that can trip up even experienced editors – but this quick guide should help pupils get it right, from the start.

Read it here.

2 | Punctuating direct speech resource pack

This powerful KS2 grammar resources pack provides everything you need to teach a series of five lessons on punctuating direct speech, culminating in an extended writing task where children can use their grammatical understanding in context.

Get this resource pack here.

3 | Direct speech challenge worksheets

Similarly, this bright, appealing grammar worksheet is an excellent way to practise and revise using direct speech in Year 4.

It is divided into five sections: understand, challenge, test, explain and apply.

Activities include SATs style questions and opportunities for creative writing responses, with eye-catching images as prompts.

Find this one here.

4 | Learn speech conventions through knock, knock jokes worksheet

This resource sheet from Rachel Clarke uses a small-steps approach to slowly scaffold children through the rules and conventions of dialogue. In the first instance pupils are simply asked to rewrite knock, knock jokes in speech bubbles.

Once they’ve got the hang of this, they should then be encouraged to write the name of the speaker and ‘said’ before each speech bubble. The second level asks pupils write each line of the knock, knock joke using inverted commas.

Each example on this sheet starts with the reporting clause before the dialogue, which enables pupils to practise adding a comma after the reporting clause.

Download it here.

5 | Speech marks washing line

This handy idea was created by Clarice Morley, an English teacher in a Pupil Referral Unit, who found her boys were struggling with the use of speech marks.

They invented three characters – male, female and a rabbit – and produced some labels such as “Rory exclaimed” and “Brenda whispered”. Clarice then stretched a washing line across the board, and had two pegs with the speech marks on.

The boys would write something someone would say onto a piece of paper, then they matched one of the labels with one of their speeches, and hung the speech on the washing line.

They soon grasped it is only the reported speech that hangs on the line, and the pegs (speech marks) keep it in place.

Print out the worksheet for this resource here.

6 | How to use inverted commas video guide

For a nice little introduction or recap to inverted commas, watch this video of Mr Thorne take you through their uses.

It’s clearly explained with large captions across the bottom so that children can see his examples written out with the correct punctuation.

7 | Speech mark rules

There are many “rules” of speech marks, but no definitive list, and you don’t want to overwhelm children with too many while they’re just learning.

So this Rising Stars list of five rules is a nice size for children to read and take in.

Check it out here.

8 | Quotation marks worksheet

This two-page worksheet has six tasks and an extension all revolving around punctuating speech.

So it starts with putting speech marks into sentences, then putting speech marks and all other punctuation, before building up to punctuating longer passages.

Print it here.

9 | Inverted commas worksheet set

This resource set has three parts. One is ‘Witch and Tiger Conversation’, which shows ten pictures with blank speech bubbles. Children choose names for the witch and the tiger, then create the contents of the conversation.

Next they re-write this conversation in the form of a story by adding phrases such as ‘said Tom’ and ‘asked Joe’ as well as speech marks and other punctuation.

The second and third parts are ‘Missing Speech Marks’ worksheets, where children need to add speech marks to sentences.

Get all this here.

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