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Lesson Plan

Characters in Because of Winn-Dixie: Making Lists of Ten

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Characters in Because of Winn-Dixie: Making Lists of Ten

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions plus independent reading time
Lesson Author

Lisa Storm Fink

Lisa Storm Fink

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



In Kate DiCamillo's book Because of Winn-Dixie, the protagonist, Opal, learns about her absent mother when her father shares ten things about her. Working as a class, students match items from the list of ten things describing Opal's mother in the novel with the basic elements of characterization. Next, they work in small groups to go through the same process with the list of ten things describing Winn-Dixie. Students then create an individual list describing another character in the book. Finally, students extend this process to another book they are reading by recording ten characteristics on a printable bookmark, ranking those characteristics in terms of importance, and then publishing them in a flip book format.

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Three Elements of Characterization: This resource introduces students to the three elements of characterization, as well as some basic vocabulary terms related to characters.

Flip Book Interactive: This online tool allows students to type and illustrate tabbed flip books up to ten pages long.

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In her "Teaching Ideas" column, Diana Mitchell states, "Students tire of responding to novels in the same ways. They want new ways to think about a piece of literature and new ways to dig into it" (92). Mitchell provides fifty suggestions on exploring new directions and responding with greater depth to the books read by students. This lesson plan provides a similar alternative by asking students to identify key details from the book in a way that goes beyond the ordinary while still focusing on comprehension.

Further Reading

Mitchell, Diana. "Fifty Alternatives to the Book Report." English Journal 87.1 (January 1998): 92-95.

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