Character Focus: A Beginning Look

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SWBAT describe and write a fact about the first characters we meet in chapter one of the book. Students will add to the characters as they come across them in our reading.

Big Idea

In order to see the development of characters students need come up with a basic understanding of who they are and facts about them.

Chapter One

15 minutes

In the previous days lesson, students were given some very basic facts to start with. When I read their responses many of them are eager to read the book. I ask them a few questions to review and then ask them to look at the title of the chapter. I ask them what the title might tell us about what we are about to read.

Before reading I tell them that while we read I want them to get to know the characters. I then read chapter one with my students. I ask for volunteers to read and we take turns. I also read to help model fluency and expression. 

Character Discussion

5 minutes

As we read, I stop them often to probe their understanding and focus their attention on important details. When we finish I ask them to discuss the characters the author has just given us and how did the author set up the story. 

This discussion really gets going and often I do not need to prompt, but have them focus on the characters only. I have students call on each other and bring up characters. When they bring up a character I write that on the board. 

Getting to Know Characters

10 minutes

It is now time for students to draw on facts from the book to help them understand the characters. I ask them to choose a character and find all the facts they can from the chapter that helps us understand them. I remind them to only use chapter one. 

When students have all the facts, I ask them to now discuss each character with the class. I had them stay at their desks and explain what they know about the character and why. I ask lots of questions that relate to inferred details and more in depth analysis of the character. 

We continue discussing all the characters we can. The last question I ask is, "how is knowing more about the characters going to help us as we read further?" We then discuss this answer to close.