Using a Mentor Text to Build Theories about Characters

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SWBAT use stated details and inferences to build theories about the characters in their independent reading books.

Big Idea

Characters are deliberate creations to convey ideas.


15 minutes

I start this lesson by saying, Students today I want to you to notice how the author of Hound Dog True sets up the characters of Uncle Potluck and Mattie in certain ways. As a reader, your job is to think about what the characters say and do, and how other people react to them.  Then you should start growing theories about the characters. To grow a theory means you start to infer things about the character that the author hasn't directly told you but want you to notice and think about.

Label one of your post-its Theories about_____________________.  Turn and talk with your partner about what character in your book you are growing theories about.  Remember to explain your theories by using our discussion prompts especially explain your thinking by including the because part.

I stop the class after about 10 minutes and say, "Readers lets hear some of your theories."  I chart students responses that are focused on theories about characters  from their books.

Then I say, When you go back to your seat I want you to continue post-iting your ideas you have about your reading.  Today work on growing theories about your character.


Independent Reading

35 minutes

Here is our independent reading time in action.  Take a look at this video to get an inside view.

Partner Share

10 minutes

Give a signal to alert students that readers workshop is coming to a close. Briefly remind students about the strategies for growing theories and show them an example of my post-it.Say, "Let me show our chart about growing theories and my post-its from Hound Dog True."   Take a minute and add any additional information and evidence to your post-its so you will be ready to share. 

Say, "Students, I want you to look over your post-it notes and decide which one you want to share with your partners.  Partner A you will share first.  Partner B your job is to really listen to your partner as they share about the theories they are growing about their characters.  You might want to ask them some questions about their characters such as "What is the evidence for your theory?"  

Have students share their post its with one another.  Close the workshop by asking a student to share their post its with the class under the document camera.