Lesson: Mercy Watson Goes for a Drive: Setting, Major and Minor Characters

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to identify the setting and major and minor characters of a story.

Lesson Plan

Objective:  Students will be able to identify the setting and major and minor characters of a story.


Lesson Plan


Key Vocabulary:  problem, solution, details, character, setting, analyze, connect.


DO NOW (10 minutes):  What are some of the elements that good authors include in their books to make their stories more interesting or engaging?  Please be specific and use complete sentences.


Opening:  Sometimes even really good readers do not pay attention to the setting of a book.  It is so important that we do!  Today we are going to learn some new strategies for helping us to identify the setting and the major and minor characters in our books and in anything that we read for the rest of our lives.  Thumbs up if you are ready to begin!  Let’s get started.  


Direct Instruction (I DO): 

Read Aloud:  While reading model thinking aloud skills, questioning while you read and make a big deal when you find those answers to you questions in you r reading.  Model thinking aloud in relation to discovering setting and detail of what makes a major and minor character.

·         While reading, model for students how they can mark the text with post-it notes in order to point out where the setting and major and minor characters are being described.

Mini-Lesson:  Explain that good readers make predictions about the setting of a story.  They do this by looking at the title, back cover, and pictures inside. 


Explain that more and more stories are not going to have the pictures they are used to.  Students are going to have to rely on their background knowledge and connections with settings in other texts (text to text connections) in order to figure out what the setting may be. 

SETTING:  where the story takes place (add this to "Elements of a Fiction Story Chart)  (see below).


Remind students that good readers visualize the setting by rereading the descriptions of the setting within the book and ask themselves, “What is the character seeing right now?”

·         Model this for the students.  Go back to points in the book that are marked for setting and ask those questions after re-reading that section.

Model asking the question “What are some of the works that the author used that might help us to visualize the setting and later identify it as such?”


Repeat this process with major and minor characters.

MAJOR CHARACTER:  this is the main character, the character that the story is mostly about.

MINOR CHARACTER(S):  the characters that interact or have influence over the major character.


Good readers identify the major and minor characters in a story by asking, “Who is the story mostly about?” and “Who in the story is supporting/helping out the major character?”


Model this in the story; stopping within the story where the author describes the major/minor characters. 

***Add these elements (and their definitions) of fiction into a chart.  This chart will be added to as story elements are covered.  This will serve as a living document for the class.*** 

***Students may find it beneficial to put the definition of the story elements in their own words.  This will serve to help them conceptualize these elements better.***



Guided Practice (WE DO): 


Explain that it is really important to not only be able to identify the setting and major/minor characters, but we need to be able to provide evidence to this from the story.


Hand out attached file in order to help students provide evidence.  (see attached file)

Explain how to find the evidence and recording it for the setting, major character, and minor characters.


Have students discuss how they know that the setting and major/minor character are what you stated.


Students should have the opportunity to turn and talk and think-pair-share in small groups or pairs.


Independent Practice (YOU DO):

Students are sent back to their own work stations to read their own independent reading book on their level.  Students should complete their own setting and major/minor character sheet (see attached file)


Students will also need sticky notes to help label the setting and major and minor character evidence.


After completing, students should be given the opportunity to journal about using the skills learned today:

What would a story be like without characters, or setting?

How did the author make the setting become a visualization in your head?

How does creating a character wheel help you to understand the  story better?

Group should come back together to talk about what they found in their own books and their experiences with the strategy.

Lesson Resources

Lesson 76 GP and IP   Classwork
Lesson 76   Lesson Plan
Lesson 76 Sample Character Wheel   Exemplar
Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride


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