Reported speech activities

Written by david coodin
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Reported speech activities
Reported speech is a basic tool of the English language. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Reported speech, also called indirect speech, refers to the process of indirectly quoting what someone else said. It requires a shift in grammar, usually including a change in pronoun and verb tense. For example; if someone says "It is very hot out," a reported speech version of this is, "He said it was very hot out" or "He says it is very hot out." Teaching this basic tool of the English language is easier with a variety of games designed to educate and entertain.

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Memory Game

Learning reported speech is more fun if students can exercise their memory as well. Read a paragraph written in the first person out loud. It works best if it is a monologue of someone telling a story about something that happened, or expressing an opinion. When you are finished, have students rewrite the paragraph as they can remember it, using reported speech. For example; if the monologue begins, "My name is Sarah and I hate waking up in the morning," the student might begin, "The girl said her name was Sarah and that she hated getting up in the morning."

Letter Writing

Have students write fictional complaint letters to an advice columnist. Allow them to be creative when making up personal problems. Require that students use at least a few instances of reported speech in the letter. This works particularly well if the letter complains about something someone else did or said. Collect the letters and redistribute them. Have students write response letters as the advice columnist. Again, have students use reported speech when giving advice.

Roleplay Improv Translation

Reporting someone else's speech can be done orally. Ask for three student volunteers and for suggestions from the rest of the class for a dispute involving two of the volunteers. Tell the class that two arguers don't speak the same language, so the third student must translate. Have the students improvise a scene trying to resolve the dispute, with one students "translating" their direct speech into reported speech. Let the audience vote on who wins the dispute.

Reported Speech Soccer

Break the class into two teams. Set up a "net" on either side of the classroom. It doesn't have to be a real net, but simply an object that signifies the goal. Place a soccer ball in the middle of the room with an equal number of sheets of construction paper on either side of the ball leading to each goal. One player advances. Read a sentence of direct speech out loud. The player must translate the sentence into reported speech. If he does so correctly, the ball moves up one space toward the opposing team's goal. If he gets it wrong, it moves backwards one space. Alternate players and teams until the ball reaches one of the goals.

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