Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Contribute to ReadWriteThink

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.



Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Inferring How and Why Characters Change

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Erika Griffin

Trumbull, Connecticut


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



"There is not much point in writing a novel unless you can show the possibility of moral transformation, or an increase in wisdom, operating in your chief character or characters." —Anthony Burgess

Because so many stories contain lessons that the main character learns and grows from, it is important for students to not only recognize these transformations but also understand how the story's events affected the characters. This lesson uses a think-aloud procedure to model how to infer character traits and recognize a character's growth across a text. Students also consider the underlying reasons of why the character changed, supporting their ideas and inferences with evidence from the text.

back to top



Story Map: Using the Character Organizer in the Story Map tool, students can get to the heart of the characters from their stories and determine the how's and why's of characters' characteristics.

back to top



Roser, N.L., & Martinez, M.G. (Eds.). (2005). What a character! Character study as a guide to literacy meaning making in grades K–8. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

  • Understanding characters-their desires, feelings, thoughts, and beliefs-may lie at the very heart of literary meaning making (Emery, 1996).

  • When teachers and students take time to read and discuss characters, children understand and craft increasingly rich characters of their own.

  • Roser and Martinez explain that characters not only help readers move into and through a text, but they also affect what those readers come away with as well.


Emery, D.W. (1996). Helping readers comprehend stories from the characters' perspectives. The Reading Teacher, 49(7), 534–541.

back to top