Lesson: Historical Fiction Character Actions: Bud, Not Buddy (Lesson 5)

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Lesson Objective

Readers notice when characters’ actions are connected to the setting.

Lesson Plan

Lesson 5:


  • 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.
  • Determine the setting and the significance of the setting on the traits, feelings, and motivations of characters.


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 to make predictions.


Teaching Point: Readers notice when characters’ actions are connected to the setting.


Reading binders, pencils, copies of Bud, Not Buddy


Reading Workshop Lesson:

  • Readers, we’ve been learning about the importance of the setting in historical fiction. The time and place in which a book is set can affect how people act, think, and speak.  Today we are going to read the next chapter of Bud, Not Buddy, and talk about an event where the characters are being influenced by their setting.
  • [Read to the top of page 46.] Why is there such a long line? How does this connect to the setting of this book?
  • [Stop at the bottom of page 47.] Hmm, this is strange. Somebody is calling Bud “Clarence,” and that’s definitely not his name. And we know that Bud’s mother is dead, so why is this man telling him to get in line with his mother? [Share comments.]
  • [Stop at the bottom of page 48.] What did this family just do for Bud? [Call on a student to explain.] Let’s think about why they did this. They could just be very kind people. What do we know about the setting that may have caused this family to treat Bud like their son so that he could get food from the mission? [T&T – hopefully some groups will conclude that since there is a depression, people feel more sympathetic toward poor kids like Bud who have no other way of meeting their needs.]
  • [Read through pages 50-51 slowly, stopping frequently:]
    • Second paragraph: What does Bud’s pretend father mean when he says this?
    • Third paragraph: Why is it so quiet? When I go to dining halls and cafeterias, it’s always really loud. Why is the mission quiet? [Because the people who are eating there are really, seriously hungry.]
    • Top of page 51: Why is there a sign saying that there isn’t any work available? Why does it say “terribly sorry”?
    • Take any other general comments that seem to reveal more information about the setting.
    •  Readers, we know that historical fiction gives us a really good idea about what life was like during a certain time or place in history. In this chapter, Bud meets a family that does something very kind for him. It might just be that they are really nice people. But it seems like this is an example of how people may have treated each other during the depression. Maybe when lots of people are poor and hungry, other people want to do kind things for them. The setting influenced the family to act kindly toward Bud because they knew that he had no money or food outside of the mission. You should begin to notice when the book’s setting causes characters to act in a certain way in your independent reading.

 See Chapter 6 mixed review multiple choice questions.

Lesson Resources

Chapter 6 - Mixed review.docx  


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