There is absolutely no doubt that active voice is important. In fact, many English professors, push students to write in active voice as much as possible.
But, why is active voice so important? Or Why do professors and teachers want students to use active voice more frequently?
It is mostly because sentences in active voice tend to engage readers in a better manner. Not only this, active voice sentences are easier to understand and read, especially for those whose first language is not English.
Despite several benefits, you will see that most writing happens in passive voice. This shows that writing in active voice is not only difficult but requires practice and understanding.
In this post, we will discuss a few activities that will help your kids understand and practice active voice.
1. Spot the active sentence
Write down several sentences on a piece of paper. Cut each sentence in a separate strip.
If you don’t have the time to write them down, you can use MS Word or Pages. Write down sentences in stylish fonts and print them out. Cut them each into a separate strip.
Remember that the sentences have to be a combination of active voice and passive voice (but mostly active voice).
Put them all in one place. Ask your kid to pick up any one sentence, read it out loud and explain why is it active or passive voice.
This activity will not only help them learn to spot active voice but also teach them why a certain sentence is active (or passive) in the first place
Once kids start to get a hang of this, you can put a timer on this activity. Ask your kid to spot as many active voice as possible within 1-2 minutes. Once the time is over, he/she can explain to you why they thought that a sentence is active voice.
2. Talk for 5 mins in active voice
This is the simplest fun activity you can arrange for your kids.
You will need at least two persons for this. In my case, it was me and my son.
All you have to do is talk for active voice as long as one of the person utters a sentence in passive voice.
3. Pass the buck and convert a sentence into active
If you are planning to put in place activity no 1, then you can just take out all the passive sentences from there. Alternatively, you can just write down a few passive sentences on a piece of paper each and put them in a bowl.
Play the music. Kids have to sit in a circle and pass the pillow to the next player until the music stops. Whoever is holding the pillow will take out one piece of paper from the bowl, read the sentence and convert it into active voice.
If the player converts it correctly, he/she get a point. If not, they lose one point. The player with maximum points wins the game.
4. Active possibilities
We have done a similar activity in the post which dealt with passive voice.
You have to make a list of subject and verb combinations. For example, brother/throw, teacher/grade etc. Put them all in a bowl.
Ask kids to pick up one subject/verb combination chit from the bowl and write down as many active voice sentences as they can.
You can also divide the kids into two teams and give them scores based on their performance.
5. Storybook hunting
Storybook hunting is more of a routine than an activity for us.
Before bedtime, I read at least one story to my son. During this time, I ask him to spot at least 5 active or passive sentences in the story.
You can also teach other concepts using the same method. For example, spot conjunctions, nouns, verbs, present tense etc.