What Are Some Tips for Teaching Tone and Mood in Literature?

To teach tone and mood in literature, utilize word activities based on the type of literature or write prompts that allow students to create their own tone and mood examples. Use song selections, poetry, short stories or novels as examples.

When using songs or poetry, identify tone by determining the author's purpose, ideas, feelings or technique. Identify mood by describing what emotional response the piece evokes. On a chalkboard, use a line to divide the board in half with "tone" and "mood" written on the top of each half. The students listen to the poem or song and give suggestions of words that describe the tone of the piece, such as playful, angst-ridden or boisterous. Next, the students suggest what mood the piece evokes, such as happy, sad or upset.

For a writing prompt, have students write a sentence or short paragraph that communicates feeling and causes readers to feel a particular emotion. Have students create a light image drawn on top of a copy of the literary work that conveys the emotion of the piece. Students are given a specific passage of the work, and they take an image derived from the work and add words that inspire the image, such as one wide-open eye with words that evoke paranoia or suspicion for a passage from the novel "1984."