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

A Tale of a Few Text Messages: A Character Study of A Tale of Two Cities

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


A Tale of a Few Text Messages: A Character Study of A Tale of Two Cities

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Patrick Striegel

Patrick Striegel

Tolono, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Students engage in a character study of the numerous figures created by Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities.  Students first compare and contrast several forms of communication: email, text message, and telephone.  They then complete a character study chart that breaks down physical background, character traits, social status/background, unanswered questions about the character, and a final judgment about the character.  Next, students will create text messages between numerous characters that show the relationship between the characters, their background, and plot points that they are involved in.  The lesson concludes with students sharing their text messages and a discussion of the rationales behind their choices.

back to top



back to top



In the NCTE Council Chronicle article “The Shift to 21st-Century Literacies, Sara Kajder explains that as information technologies continue to progress, teachers have opened up what counts as valued communication in the classroom” (4).  One of the many ways that teachers can use the various types of communication is to incorporate the ways that their students are communicating each and every day.  Furthermore, William Kist explains the transition from “page-based to a screen-based society,” contending that "'[i]t's a different way of encountering communication or thought or human expression'" (5).  Inviting students to respond to literature in the format of a series of text messages achieves two goals: It shows that teachers value forms of communication in which students already engage, and it allows teachers to discuss with students ways in which new means of communication are similar to and different from more traditional ways expressing meaning.

Further Reading

Collier, Lorna. "The Shift to 21st Century Literacies." The Council Chronicle Nov. 2007: 4-8.

back to top