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Introduce: Character Traits

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Lesson Type: Introduce
Grade: K, 1, 2, 3
Group Size:
Length: 20 minutes
Goal: Given a character in a text, students will be able to identify some of the traits of that character.

Materials: Board or chart paper, Character Map (print here). Suggested reading: Olivia by Ian Falconer, Lilly’s Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes, Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

What to Do


Choose a familiar book with a strong main character. Make a large version of the Character Map on the board or chart paper.


1. Explain the lesson.

Today we will learn about character traits. Authors try to create a mental picture of a character for the reader. The author shows the character's traits through the character's thoughts, feelings, and actions. An author may provide details about a character’s physical appearance. Often, the reader has to guess what a character is like by paying attention to how the character thinks, feels, and acts.

2. Introduce the text you are using for this activity.

As I read, think about what the story tells you about the main character. Pay attention to any special words in the story that tell you how the main character thinks, feels, or acts.


3. Read the story.

4. Complete the large version of the Character Map. Encourage students to give you at least two examples for each category using evidence from the story.

5. Encourage students to list additional words to describe the character in a journal or notebook.


For Advanced Students:

Encourage these students to offer synonyms for the character traits from the Character Map.

For Struggling Students:

These students may need additional help giving specific character traits. Reread the parts of the story that describe the character.

For ELL Students:

Be sure these students understand what thoughts, feelings, and actions are. Use gestures or visuals to clarify as necessary.

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