Word choice and mood

Word choice and mood

I can analyze an author's word choice in order to determine how it affects the..

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Word choice and mood

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Students learn about mood and word choice and how an author can influence the mood of a reader.



Learning objective

Students will be able to determine the mood of a text by analyzing the author's word choice, and the story's setting and characters.


As a class discuss how words vary in their strength. Challenge students to make more exciting versions of the sentence on the interactive whiteboard. Move the cover to show some possible examples. Then discuss how words can have a negative, neutral or positive connotation. Do remind your students that situations can turn a positive word into a negative word (like when using sarcasm) and that context is always important. Define the term "mood" as a class. The mood is the way a reader feels as they read. It is the process by which the author tries to create a whole emotional experience for the reader. They use specific words with particular connotations to influence the reader. Discuss with students that when you determine your own mood before reading you will better be able to notice how an author has changed or influenced your mood as you read.


Have students look at the two examples given on the interactive whiteboard. Can they determine the likely mood of both texts? Ask your class to get moody- can they come up with more negative, neutral and positive moods than are shown on the interactive whiteboard? Explain to students that the next step is to determine mood and that this is done by examing the author's word choice. Look at aspects of the text like characters, setting, tone, and diction. Draw lines to match the setting with a mood word. Then challenge students in pairs to come up with settings to match the moods given. Read the given text and have students predict the mood and what might happen next. Repeat with a second text.


Students are given a set of ten questions which check their understanding of key concepts in the lesson. They are asked to complete sentences to help create a given mood or select which of the given sentences would help create a given mood.


Discuss the learning goal with the students and why it is important to be able to identify mood. Emphasize that mood at its core is a personal experience and that your personal association with certain words or situations can mean that you understand a story differently than your neighbor or friend. That being said, there is often a general understanding of certain words or situations that lean to specific moods. Close the lesson by having students step into author-shoes and write a short story that begins with a specific mood.

Teaching tips

You may choose to also introduce the classic "It was a dark and stormy night" opening sentence to help jump-start their creativity.

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