A Puzzling Tale: Just One Match

story by Karen Jameyson , illustrated by Anna Bron

Learning Intention:

I am learning to use quoted and indirect speech so that I can create context and authority over a narrative.


Success Criteria:

  • I can use appropriate punctuation for direct speech.
  • I can rewrite indirect speech as quoted speech.
  • I can select appropriate dialogue according to a character’s personality to create context and authority.


Essential knowledge:

For more information about quotation marks, refer to the NSW Department of Education’s Style Guide.

For more information about the roles of the composer and the responder, see The School Magazine’s video on Authority.

For more information about giving context in a narrative, see The School Magazine’s video on Context.

For more information about creating characters, see The School Magazine’s video on Character.


Oral language and communication:

Ask students to read through Just One Match independently. If students require it, you can read it aloud or they can listen to the audio recording if you have a digital subscription. As they’re reading, ask students what’s missing from the narrative.

Some students may notice the answer to the puzzle is missing from the text. This is correct. Encourage them to think about what else is missing. Prompt them to look at other narratives in this issue of Blast Off, such as The Flying Snail (pp 21-25) or Finding Out (pp 16-19). If they need help, guide them to the answer that direct speech (dialogue) is missing from Just One Match.

Ask students what dialogue looks like in a text. Ensure students know that:

- Dialogue is a word-for-word report of what a character is saying.

- Dialogue requires speech marks around the direct quote.

- Dialogue often has dialogue tags, such as “he said,” “she whispered”, “they cried.”

- Dialogue has special rules for punctuation, such as requiring the comma, question mark or exclamation mark to be contained within the speech marks.

Ask students to make a statement, exclamation or question and write their dialogue on the board with correct punctuation. For example:

“It’s cold today,” said Mikayla.

“Where’s my pencil?” asked Sam.

“I’m hungry!” moaned Oliver.


Understanding text:

Ask students to read through Just One Match again and write some possible quoted speech for the text in their workbooks. Give them examples such as:

“It’s s-s-so c-c-cold,” whispered the farmer.

“Come in, come in, let’s try to get warm,” said the mayor.

“I found a match!” cried the mayor’s daughter.

Encourage students to write as many lines of dialogue as they can, using different dialogue tags to vary their vocabulary.


Creating text:

Explain that students will be rewriting the story using dialogue, but to do so, first they need to figure out a bit more about their characters. Explain that each character’s dialogue will change based on the context and what kind of personality the character has.

For example, ask the class what sort of dialogue they might hear if the mayor’s daughter, who had to crawl into an old cupboard, is brave (“I’ll climb through here and see what I can find!” she declared) versus her dialogue if she’s selfish and scared (“Why do I have to do it?” she whined). Explain that making this choice and writing the appropriate dialogue gives them authority over the text.

Instruct students to write out the story, or a portion of the story, using quoted speech. Invite them to give the characters names for this task.


Assessment for/as learning:

A marking rubric for imaginative texts can be found on The School Magazine website. Students can use this rubric to inform their writing, and it can be used for peer and teacher assessment.


Students can also swap their stories with a partner. The partner should:

- check that appropriate punctuation has been used for quoted speech

- guess each character’s personality based on their dialogue