How to Teach Voice in Middle School Writing

Voice is an important part of writing; without it, a person's writing will sound as stale as an encyclopedia article. This article gives a working definition of 'voice' in the writing process, and offers suggestions for including this technique in writing.

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Voice is a literary technique that creates individuality and personality in writing. Theoretically, one's writing has a different sound from everyone else's, and displays feelings and emotions unique to the writer. However, many young writers don't know how to add their own voice to their works, so they often end up sounding like an encyclopedia article. The reader ought to sense the sincerity and honesty of the writer and this can only happen if the language used brings the work to life for the reader, and is appropriate for topic, purpose, and audience.

Here are some suggestions for writing with voice:

list taken from

  • Write honestly and from the heart
  • Share personal feelings about the topic
  • Speak directly to the reader
  • Use language that can bring the topic to life for the reader
  • Care about what is written
  • Write to be read
  • Use more expression than that found in an encyclopedia article
  • Give the reader a sense of the person behind the words
  • Connect with the reader

The best way to introduce the concept of voice is to read other texts, having students identify and discuss the voice of the author. You can also have students identify words to describe voice in their own writing, or instruct students to rewrite a letter or article with a new voice. It is important to discuss the effect this change in voice may have on the audience.

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