Characterization is a common literacy skill when working with fiction. I love a good book with a great character. Don’t you? Characters can grab kids’ attention, help them connect to the story, and even make kids laugh. Some of my favorite books are my favorites because of the memorable characters. Have you read the Jamie O’Rourke or Strega Nona books by Tomie dePaola? They are great examples. In this post, I’ll be sharing with you one of my favorite ways to introduce characterization to kids.
INTRODUCING CHARACTERIZATION SKILL:
The first step in your characterization lesson is to model and explain what characterization is. I created a series of paper bag books for teaching, modeling, and practicing different comprehension skills. The first section of the books includes materials you can use to model. You can take these pages and place them in your books OR use them interactive notebooks.
The focus skill for this resource is character analysis. It can be used as a literacy workstation during the practice phase, but it should be introduced in small group first. I suggest pairing the instructional pages with a great mentor text for characterization such as Amazing Grace.
With the first few pages, teachers explain what characterization means and the difference between direct and indirect characterization as well as traits we observe outwardly and inwardly. Selective highlighting is encouraged as well as purposeful discussion. Teachers also have the option of creating the book OR using the pieces in interactive notebooks as I mentioned previously.
example of characterization
The paper bag books are very helpful for reviewing skills around testing time or for intervention. I used them with the group I worked with after school in our tutoring program as well as with my intervention groups. My kids really enjoyed them since they’re something different. Since they include art, it seems fun to them. YET, the practice is meaningful and effective.
I follow a before, during, after format with my lessons. As a result, teachers introduce with the instructional pages shown. Then, they have students work through guided practice activities like this sorting activity. As you can see, the vocabulary chosen can be revisited during the last step, apply to books.
examples of characterization
This project features two of my favorite books, Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman and Mr. Lincoln’s Way by Patricia Polacco. This part could be done with a partner in a work station or as seatwork independently. If other books are preferred, teachers can easily make their own squares by screenshotting these pages and overlaying new titles.
If you find you like this idea, you can check out the rest of the series [HERE]. The bundle includes 13 skills/books in all. They are becoming pretty popular with reading teachers. In fact, here’s what one teacher said,
“I just watched your amazing video about this resource and can’t wait to use this with my daughter. Amazing Grace is one of our favorite books, and the way you presented the lesson will help make it meaningful as we work on characterization this week. I am going to check out your other paper bag books now. “anonymous buyer
If you’re interested in exploring the bundle further, you can visit my TPT store HERE or you can visit my blog store below.
Other related blog posts:
- HOW TO TEACH FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE LIKE A PRO WITH THE SNOW DANCER
- ONE FUN WAY TO TEACH CHARACTER CHANGE WITH THE HULA-HOOPIN QUEEN
- 5 AMAZING MENTOR TEXTS FOR TEACHING PERSEVERANCE
Character analysis keeps students interested in their reading. By studying characters, traits, character change, character motivation and feelings, and character behaviors, we deepen understanding.