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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


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives





  • Short stories, such as the following:

"A Bad Road for Cats" and "Stray" by Cynthia Rylant from Every Living Thing (Aladdin, 1988)

"Maybe a Fight" and "Mr. Entwhistle" by Jean Little from Hey World, Here I Am! (HarperTrophy, 1990)

"Mama Sewing" by Eloise Greenfield from Childtimes: A Three-Generation Memoir (HarperCollins, 1993)

Stevie by John Steptoe (HarperTrophy, 1986)

  • Chart paper, overhead, and markers/overhead pens

  • Overhead transparencies of stories for modeling (optional)

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Story Map

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Story Map

The Story Map interactive is designed to assist students in prewriting and postreading activities by focusing on the key elements of character, setting, conflict, and resolution.


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This lesson is based on the assumption that students have done some prior work on inferring character traits.

1. Choose a short story for the class read-aloud and photocopy the text onto overhead transparencies.

2. Gather the materials listed in the Resources section. If you do not have access to a computer for each student, you may wish to print blank copies of the character map portion of the interactive Story Map in advance.

3. Students will work with independent reading texts during this lesson. Since many students may be reading longer texts independently, you can adapt the lesson by having those students think about their characters across a few chapters. Alternately, you could have all students read short stories and picture books during this lesson.

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