ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.
Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.
Teacher Resources by Grade
|1st - 2nd||3rd - 4th|
|5th - 6th||7th - 8th|
|9th - 10th||11th - 12th|
Book Report Alternative: Creating Careers for Characters
|Grades||6 – 8|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Three 50-minute sessions|
- apply direct and indirect information about a character, noting the context of the reference and the reliability of the speaker.
- shape information about the chosen character into a coherent format (the resume).
- explore appropriate resume and job application techniques.
- (optional) examine the way that word choice affects meaning by focusing on using strong, active verbs to describe the character's experience.
- Go over the components of a resume using the Online Workshop: Resume, from Purdue OWL and a letter of application using the Online Workshop: Cover Letter, from Purdue OWL. Invite students to explore the sites further on their own. The resources include sample resumes.
- Lead a class brainstorming session for details to include in a resume, based on a character in a work they have read, for example Lillian Wright from Asimov's "Rain, Rain, Go Away."
- Using the brainstormed ideas, lead a class discussion where you construct a sample resume. Distribute copies of the Careers for Characters handout to the class, and explain the assignment.
- Use the Writing Resumes for Fictional Characters student interactive to highlight the requirements of character resumes assignment.
- Students choose a character from a self-selected novel or short story and list the character's talents, interests, and possible hobbies.
- They identify possible career choices for their characters by consulting such resources as the Purdue OWL Job Skills Checklist, O*Net Online, and the Indiana Career and Postsecondary Advancement Center Career Profiles Index. You may also use such library resources as the Worker Trait Group Guide, Chronicle Guidance Occupational Library, Career Discovery Encyclopedia, OCCU-FACTS, and so forth. Career exploration can continue as homework if desired. By the beginning of the next session, students should have identified the careers for their characters.
- Students investigate the classified sections of local newspapers in order to select possible job prospects for their characters. Alternatively, students can search online job listings such as U.S. Government Job Announcements, Purdue Job Search on the Web Classifieds Index, or JobStar Central's Job Search Guide. For ideas about what types of careers might be suitable for their characters, see the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook.
- The students cut out or print out the ad they've chosen for their characters, in order to turn the ads in with their resumes.
- Each student writes a letter of application, following business letter format, from the character to the company offering the job. If desired, students can use the Letter Generator to format and print their letters.
- Finally, the student completes a resume for the character. Any names, dates, or places must be connected to the plot or the setting of the literary piece.
- Type final versions of the two documents using a word processor. Alternatively, you have studednts continue work on their drafts for homework, asking them to submit their work at the beginning of the next session.
Based on student need and experience, you might add a mini-lesson that will help students strengthen their word choice. The Purdue OWL resource Action Verbs to Describe Skills, Jobs, and Accomplishments in Employment Documents provides a great list of strong, action verbs that are appropriate for resumes and job application correspondence. Demonstrate the process of revising for stronger word choice, using the list and modeling how to use the dictionary and thesaurus as necessary. Ideally, students should have dictionaries and thesauruses on hand as well. Divide students into small groups, and challenge them to add at least three action words to each person's resume. Students can revise and submit their documents at the end of class or the beginning of the next session.
- Informal feedback from students who respond to the resumes and job application letters and then search out the related book is excellent feedback for students. You might make arrangements with your school library to display copies of the documents in a notebook. Students looking for something to read can then browse through the notebook for suggestions.
- For more formal assessment, use the Careers for Characters Rubric.