Lesson: Main Idea (fiction), Lesson 4

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Lesson Objective

SWBAT identify the elements of fiction (problem, solution, character, and setting); SWBAT select and justify the most important event in a book; SWBAT identify the theme of a work as what the author is trying to tell the reader.

Lesson Plan

Edward W. Brooke Charter School

Problems in Fiction Unit


Mini-Lesson: Some problems have to do with a tough situation the character is facing.



  • Book Baggies with leveled fiction books
  • Problems in Fiction Chart
  • Familiar Read Aloud (pick one that contains a problematic situation; see below for ideas ...)
  • Thank You, Mr. Falker (Trisha can’t read)
  • Owen (Owen doesn’t want to get rid of his blanket)
  • Frog and Toad (Toad isn’t patient enough for the seeds to grow in his garden)
  • Whistle for Willie (Willie can’t whistle)
  • Swimmy (The little fish can’t swim safely in the ocean without getting eaten)
  • Leo the Late Bloomer (Leo is a slow learner)
  • Amazing Grace (Grace wants to be Peter Pan in the school play, but is told she cannot because she is a girl and she is African American)
  • Jamaica and the Substitute Teacher (Jamaica doesn’t know how to spell “calf” so she copies it from a classmates paper and has to tell the teacher what she did)
  • Strega Nona (Big Anthony touched the pasta pot without permission and caused a pasta disaster)


Connection:  Readers, this week we learned that every fiction story has at least one problem.  Sometimes that problem is between two characters.  Sometimes that problem is in the character’s mind.  Today we are going to learn about another kind of problem that you will read about in some books.


Teach:  Sometimes  the problem in the story is something a character has to deal with. It’s not a problem between two characters or just in the character’s mind, it’s a problem for the character or for several of the characters.  Maybe the characters are in a tricky situation because of something going on around them or of because a decision they made.  Maybe there is some big obstacle they need to overcome.  Maybe there is something beyond their control that is causing them to have a tough time.  All these are examples of problems that a character has to deal with.  Let me show you what I mean using the book (Choose one of the above).


Active Engagement:  In a minute, I am going to hand you and your partner a book and one post-it note.  Your job is to find the problem in the book and write it on the post-it note.   (Create chart)


Link: Today when you read, I want you to think about if the problem in your book is something the character has to deal with.


Share: Have students share out any problems they found that are something a character has to deal with. 

Lesson Resources

No resources at this time.


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