Lesson: Historical Fiction Character Traits: Bud, Not Buddy (Lesson 2)

2 Favorites

Lesson Objective

Readers can determine the main character’s traits through their actions, thoughts, and words.

Lesson Plan

Lesson 2:


  • Identify character traits and cite exact textual support for the thoughts, words, and actions that reveal their personalities.
  • Determine the purpose of individual sentences and paragraphs and their role in the text. 
  • Identify supporting evidence and provide elaboration for inferences.


Big Idea: People are influenced by and react to their setting so you need to consider the setting carefully. Readers of historical fiction can use what they know about a setting to understand character actions, feelings, motivations, and traits and to make predictions.


Teaching Point: Readers can determine the main character’s traits through their actions, thoughts, and words.


Reading binders, pencils, copies of Bud, Not Buddy , Tracking Character Traits handout , OR handout


Reading Workshop Lesson:

  • Readers, yesterday we started a new unit on historical fiction. Historical fiction helps us understand what life was like in a different time or place. Yesterday, we learned that the author often tells us important information about the setting in the first chapter of a book. We put our prior knowledge together with new information about the setting to figure out that in 1930s Michigan, there was a depression where many people were very poor, and there was also segregation between black people and white people. That setting is going to influence the main character, Bud’s, actions, thoughts, and words throughout the text. Many of you have already noticed that Bud has a very unique personality and way of thinking, and I bet that his traits are going to influence most of what he does in the book. So, today we are going to identify a couple of Bud’s traits and find some examples of how his traits cause him to act, think, or speak in a certain way.
  • Please remind your partner what a trait is. [T&T.] Nice job, readers – you remembered from our last unit that a trait is part of someone’s personality. It describes what a person is like all the time and causes people to act, think, and speak in a certain way. We’ve already gotten to know Bud a little bit. Does anyone want to suggest a trait word we can use to describe Bud? [Call on two or three students, and push them to explain how they know that he represents that trait.]
  • Let’s start reading chapter 2 and see if we can find any support for these trait words.
  • [Stop at the bottom of page 13.] So far, we know that Bud is at his new temporary home and that Todd Amos, the 12 year old boy who lives there, is sticking pencils up his nose and taunting him. How does Bud react to this? [Discuss.] What does this tell us about Bud’s traits? [Discuss – conclude that he is bold or another similar trait.] I agree that Bud is a bold person. Someone who is timid or passive would just let Todd beat on them. But Bud won’t stand for it. He sticks up for himself even though he knows he’ll get in trouble for it.
  • I am going to pass out the character traits handout that we used in our last unit, and we are going to write down Bud’s name and the trait word, bold. In the first box, let’s write: “Hit Todd Amos so that he would stop picking on him.” Let’s see if we can find other examples of how Bud is bold.
  • [Stop after the first full paragraph on page 16.] What do you think Bud will react to this? Tell your partner your prediction. [T&T and share out.]
  • [Stop after the fourth full paragraph on page 17.] Bud is apologizing. Does that show that he is a bold person who stands up for himself? …Not really. Maybe our trait prediction is wrong. Let’s keep reading to see if we can understand why Bud is apologizing to everyone.
  • [Stop after the next paragraph.] I see. So Bud is trying to be a trickster. He’s trying to make it sound like he doesn’t want to go back to the home when really that’s exactly where he wants to go. That’s pretty clever. Let’s add “clever” as a trait on the back of your handout. Then let’s add: “Tricks Mrs. Amos into thinking he wants to stay” in the first box. Now we have two traits – bold and clever – but we need to find a lot more evidence for them. Let’s look for other situations that Bud responds to in a bold or clever way.
  • [Read to the end of the chapter.] Any more evidence that shows that Bud reacts to things in a bold or clever way? [Discuss – maybe add that he is bold because he doesn’t cry when Mr. Amos puts him in the shed.]
  • At the end of the chapter, Mr. Amos locks Bud in a dark shed, and Bud thinks he sees a mark left behind by another kid they locked in the shed. Turn to your partner and tell them how Bud is going to react to this in the next chapter. [T&T]
  • Readers, I am going to give you another traits handout so that you can practice this with your own historical fiction text. At this point, you should know who your main character is and you should start to notice their traits – the way that they respond to most of the events in their lives. When you find evidence for those traits, write it down on the handout.
  • Now we are going to move on to a new part of our reading workshop lesson. Twice a week, we will practice a new strategy in our open response writing. As always, we will look for evidence, write a topic sentence that answers the question, and organize our open responses into paragraphs. Starting in this unit, we are going to practice using direct quotations in the text as evidence. We are also going to practice elaborating on these direct quotes so that it doesn’t just look like we’re copying words from the text.
  • Today we are going to find just one piece of evidence to answer today’s question [put it up on the board and read aloud: “Give an example that shows that Bud is clever.”] With your partner, I want you to find the BEST piece of evidence that shows that Bud is clever. I only want you to find one because we are going to spend a lot of time talking about how to punctuate and elaborate on that piece of evidence. [Give them a few minutes to look back through chapter 2 and identify the best evidence, then discuss. I think the best evidence is the third full paragraph on page 17.]
  • Okay, so now we have the evidence we need to answer the question. Let’s start with our topic sentence. [Call on a student to come up with a topic sentence. “Bud is clever” would be fine, but you could also push them to write something like, “Bud is clever because he lies to the Amoses to get out of trouble.” Write that down.]
  • Now we need to pick the part of our text that BEST supports our main idea that Bud is clever. We can’t copy down the whole paragraph. When we write about our reading, we shouldn’t ever copy more than a whole sentence of text. Otherwise there won’t be room for our elaboration and thinking. [Discuss what should be quoted – maybe where he says, “And if I didn’t lie good enough she was going to use that strap on me” – then show students how to use dialogue conventions to punctuate the evidence correctly.]
  • Now we need to add elaboration to explain to our reader how this connects to Bud being clever. By itself, this sentence doesn’t show me that Bud is clever. It just tells me that he is going to lie. He’s clever because he lies to trick the Amoses into thinking he’s sorry. If he didn’t apologize, Mrs. Amos would be even angrier, and she would use the strap on him. How can we turn that into an elaboration sentence? [T&T and share out, then write down an elaboration sentence together.] Your OR should look something like:

Bud is clever because he lies to the Amoses to get out of trouble. He says, “If I didn’t lie good enough she was going to use that strap on me.” Bud doesn’t want Mrs. Amos to hit him with the strap, so he says that he is sorry for hitting Todd even though he doesn’t mean it.

Lesson Resources

Tracking Character Traits handout.docx  
Chapter 2 - Open Response.docx  


Something went wrong. See details for more info
Nothing to upload