By Gina Kennedy

By Gina Kennedy

Author's Tone and Mood, Teaching Ideas that Make it Meaningful!


As I began discussing author's tone and mood last week with my students I realized how intrigued they were to learn that an author could manipulate their readers by simply using the right words.  After explaining to my students that a good writer looks at a completed novel or essay the same way as Van Gogh looked at one of his completed paintings, they really began to see the importance of becoming a good writer and appreciate writing as an art and not just a form of communication.  Authors are simply artists that express their attitudes and emotions by choosing the perfect words.

Quick Review:

Tone is the author’s attitude toward the writing (his characters, the situation) and the readers. A work of writing can have more than one tone. An example of tone could be both serious and humorous. Tone is set by the setting, choice of vocabulary and other details. 

Mood is the general atmosphere created by the author’s words. It is the feeling the reader gets from reading those words. It may be the same, or it may change from situation to situation.

Use this resource to begin your author's tone and mood studies!  I have created an introductory lesson that provides the core knowledge students need to help identify tone and mood, as well as provide an excellent intervention for students who need additional help with this skill.  You can purchase this resource at my store below:
Complete Author's Style, Tone and Mood Unit!

Here are a few other ideas to help your students grasp the concept of tone and mood:

1. Read the first few paragraphs of several newspaper articles and editorials from your local newspaper to your students and have them identify an emotion to describe how each newspaper article excerpt made them feel. Determine a tone and mood for each article.
    Take this a step further and provide newspapers for your students and with partners have the groups determine the mood and tone of at least five different articles or editorials from the newspaper.

2. Ask your students to brainstorm an event that took place recently at home or school that really frustrated them.  Then invite your students to write a few paragraphs to explain the event and subsequently identify the mood and tone of how they described the event.
    Then instruct your students to rewrite the event two more times, but each time they must write about the same event changing their word usage to create different tones and moods.  You can download this "freebie" resource from my store below:
Click Here to Download My Tone and Mood Writing "FREEBIE"

3. Create five categories of author's tones such as angry, resentful, gloomy and etc.  Brainstorm movies they've seen or books your students have read that would fit into the five categories.
    Do the same for author's mood.

4. Practice storytelling using different tones and moods.  Fill a brown lunch bag with different individual mood and tone words.  The students will draw out a tone or mood word from the bag and begin telling a story that identifies with the particular mood or tone.  The other students will guess the tone or mood of the story and the winner becomes the next storyteller.

For more author's style, tone and mood enrichment activities, you can purchase my "Author's Style, Tone and Mood Language Arts Enrichment Project Menu" shown below at my store:
Author's Style, Tone and Mood Enrichment Projects