Mood and Tone

Contributor: Danielle Childers. Lesson ID: 11028

How do you feel on a gloomy day? A sunny day? Can you explain that in writing? Can you tell what someone's thinking by the tone of his voice? Learn to use mood and tone as you create your own cartoon!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio: Image - Button Play
Image - Lession Started Image - Button Start

Look at each of the below pictures carefully. How does each make you feel? Do they convey a different tone or mood? Discuss your thoughts with your parent or teacher.

Image - Video

In writing, authors use specific sensory words to allow the reader to feel the mood and tone of a story.

When you looked at the pictures in the opening, your visual sense may have triggered memories, thoughts, or emotions that made you respond in a certain way.

Just as visual artists use cameras and paint brushes to evoke feelings in the viewers, authors, too, paint pictures with words. Good writers provide details of the characters, settings, and plot, that make the reader connect with the text and feel the emotion or tone of the piece.

There are so many different moods and emotions that we all experience on a daily basis. Think about today alone. What kind of mood were you in when you woke up this morning? If you are a morning person, you may have been in a bright and positive mood; however, if you were up all night watching zombie movies and eating extra spicy nachos, you may be a bit on the crankier side of normal. Share with your teacher or parent what type of mood you are both experiencing right now.

Now, let's relate tone to mood. Tone is the portrayal of mood through words. It's not only what a character says, it's also how he or she says it.

Let's think about this as it applies to your everyday life. Has a parent ever said, "Don't use that tone with me!" or, "Watch your tone!" To what is he or she referring? Just your words, or is there more?

Take a few minutes to talk about this with your parent or teacher. Think about details like body language, how loudly or softly you speak, etc.

It's now time to look at exactly how to pick up on mood in tone in a piece of literature.

You will begin by watching two videos (below). As you watch and listen, try and determine to whom the tone and mood are related: the author or the reader. How do tone and mood differ? After viewing, discuss your answers with your parent or teacher.

Begin with Mood and Tone to review the basic definitions:

Image - Video


Next, move on to Flipped Class Video: Tone and Mood to get a bit more detail:

Image - Video


Do you understand how mood and tone differ? How does understanding both mood and tone help you better understand the piece of literature? Discuss with your parent or teacher.

Great work! You should now know that:

  • The mood is the feeling that a story creates in the reader.
  • The tone is an author's attitude toward the subject or audience of the story.

How do you know what the mood and tone are for a piece of literature?

If you said they are inferred, you are correct! The tone and mood of a story are not stated outright, but rather inferred through the word choices of the author.

The author will reveal his perspective or opinion on the subject, whether it is positive or negative, through this word choice, and thus set the tone.

To become a great writer, you need to get used to referring to a thesaurus and a dictionary to help you find the best possible words to fit the situation!

Image - Button Next