Reading Like a Writer: Looking closely at “Speech Class”

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It is easy to spot dialogue in “Speech Class,” because it looks just like the dialogue we see in stories—set off by quotation marks. But when we press readers to think like writers, we can move them beyond this surface level observation to deeper thinking. Why did the poet include these specific spoken words? Why do they appear in this part of the poem? What does this dialogue do in the poem, or in the reader’s mind? These are the questions writers ask: Why this? Why here?

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