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.
I have developed a series of paper bag books for teaching, modeling, and practicing different comprehension skills, and if you’ve been following my blog or social media sites, you might have seen photos of a few.
The focus skill for this resource is character analysis. It can be used as a literacy workstation during the practice phase, but should be introduced in small group first. The first few pages of all of my books are used for skill modeling.
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 choice of creating the book OR using the pieces in interactive notebooks.
The paper bag books are very helpful for reviewing skills around testing time or for intervention. I’ve used them with the group I worked with after school in our tutoring program as well as with intervention groups too. My kids have enjoyed them since they’re something different. Since a little art’s included, it seems fun to them. YET, the practice is meaningful.
I follow a before, during, after format with my lessons, so as mentioned, teachers introduce with the pages shown. Then, students have a few guided practice activities like this sorting activity. As you can see, the vocabulary chosen can be revisited when this skill is applied to books.
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
Thanks so much for all you do every single day for your students and their families. I very much appreciate your hard work and hope that this resource is loads of fun for your students. Character analysis keeps students interested in their reading. By studying characters, traits, character change, character motivation and feelings, and character behaviors, we deepen understanding.