A good way to ‘teach’ the rules is to get your child to do an investigation of the books on their shelf then write their own rules. Check what they wrote against this:

The Rules of Speech

1. Indent paragraphs as shown in the picture (above) with the pink arrow. DON’T leave a line between paragraphs; it will end up a mess.

2. New speaker = new paragraph. It’s OK to end up with a lot of ‘white space’. If you don’t believe me, check a novel.

3. DON’T forget the comma and the full stop at the end.
e.g. ‘Blah,‘ he said.
Where the speech ends in an exclamation mark or a question mark:
e.g. ‘Blah!‘ he said
‘Blah?‘ he said.

4. Right way: ‘Blah,’ he said.
He said: ‘blah.’

5. Reported speech doesn’t need speech marks. e.g. He told me to get lost. He told me he’d never seen anything so lovely. BUT you shouldn’t be using this in a story.

Do it right, and it will help you to a C grade at GCSE, or a Level 6 at KS3.

Coming soon: More Advanced Rules of Speech (Level 7, GCSE Grades A-A*, A-Level).