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Teacher Resources by Grade
|1st - 2nd||3rd - 4th|
|5th - 6th||7th - 8th|
|9th - 10th||11th - 12th|
Inferring How and Why Characters Change
|Grades||3 – 5|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Three 50-minute sessions|
"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.
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.
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.