Writing in Stereo

Writing in Stereo header image 1

The first Writing in Stereo

March 25th, 2010

The original Writing in Stereo was published online back in the late 1980's.  Its purpose was to apply creative radio dramatics to all aspects of the teaching of high school English.  Each lesson included a procedure and example.  I'm sharing these with you here.

UNIT OBJECTIVE: (I) The student will write four (4) original narratives and dramatize each for radio.

LESSON OBJECTIVE: (A) The student will recognize examples of characteristics of radio drama (listed) and demonstrate that recognition in a quiz.

1. Script format

2. Dialogue's Role a. Voice characterization b. Planting c. Tagging d. Effort e. Off-mike

3. Sound Effects

4. Ambience

5. Music Bridge

MATERIALS REQUIRED: Audio tape recorder/player, audio recordings of radio dramatic programs, transparency and photocopies of the figure provided ("Radio Dramatics")

INTRODUCTION: Back in the years B.T.--Before Television--the radio gave us much more than music, news, and sports. Radio also provided us all the dramatic programming we're so used to seeing each evening on television today. Radio dramatic programs could be produced for a fraction of the cost of a television show. They needed no costumes, no scenery, and no lighting. Actors didn't even have to memorize their lines; they could read them from the script. The microphone was also blind to race, sex, even species of actor. (A creative performer can play a talking turnip, if he or she can create an imaginative voice characterization.)


1. Place a transparency of the elements of radio dramatics on the overhead, and begin describing those listed. Use a second transparency for the characteristics of the script format.

2. Play an example of a radio dramatic program.

3. Identify examples of the characteristics above. You can do so by pointing to the item on the overhead or stopping the tape to discuss them.

4. Give the quiz prepared for this lesson. It contains written examples or descriptions of each of the characteristics for students to identify.

EVALUATION FOCUS: Students should earn a passing mark on the quiz.