Lesson: Main Idea (fiction), Lesson 2

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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 are between characters.




  • Book Baggies with leveled fiction books
  • Goggles by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Chester's Way by Kevin Henkes
  • Jamaica's Blue Marker
  • (Or substitite with 3 different familiar read alouds)
  • Chart of Problems in Fiction (you will add example books to this chart over the next few lessons - there should be 3 columns, one for problems between characters, one for problems in the character's head, and one for problematic situations)



Connection: Yesterday, readers, you learned that every fiction book has at least one problem in it.  Today, we will discover that sometimes the big problem in a story is how the characters feel about each other.



Teaching Point:  Every fiction book you read has at least one big problem in it and that problem is what makes the story interesting.  We have read many books by now and there isn’t the same kind of problem in every book.  In fact, there are different kinds of problems in the books you read and it’s your job as a reader to pay attention to what kind of problem it is.  The first kind of problem we are going to think about has to do with the characters in a book.  Sometimes, the characters in stories have a problem with each other and they spend the whole book trying to figure it out. Listen as I think about how the big problem is between the characters.

  • Goggles! by Ezra Jack Keats

This is a problem between characters because the three bullies try to steal Peter & Archie’s goggles.

  • Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes

This is a problem between characters because Chester & Wilson don’t play with Lilly when she does different things than they do.

Did you notice how I thought about the characters in the story?

Did you notice how I used what the characters say and do to figure out the big problem between them?



Active Engagement:  In a moment you are going to talk and talk to your partner. Remember to say character names and use the word ‘because’ to explain your thinking. What’s the big problem between the characters in Jamaica’s Blue Marker? (This is a problem between characters because Russell scribbles on Jamaica’s picture which makes her upset with him.)



Link: Today your job as a reader is find books that have a big problem between characters.  You will write the problem on a post-it note and we will discuss it during our share.



Share:  Who found that the big problem in their books was between the characters?

Lesson Resources

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