I have always loved to dive deep into picture books. We are so lucky to have so many wonderful books at our fingertips! Practically every picture book has a great comprehension lesson waiting to happen. Between school and reading to my own kids, I'm doing a fair amount of reading! Usually when I read a picture book, a bunch of teaching thoughts jump into my head. Occupational hazard? I have to jot down some notes on a sticky afterward, so I often have random notes around my house. Ha! A couple years ago, I blogged about character analysis. I decided it was time to add a little.
For our younger kids, I basically focus on describing a character and then finding evidence to support our reasoning. This goes along with the close reading philosophy. We read the book. We ask the question. We reread to find evidence to support our answer.
I usually introduce the concept by showing students a list of words to describe people or characters. Then I ask my class to describe me. After making a small list (maybe 2 or 3 words), I ask them to prove it. Together, we think of evidence to prove that actually I am how they described me.
Now, we move on to picture books. I put together a list of some books I've been reading lately that lend themselves to a character analysis lesson. The first set is fall-themed and the second set are for any ol' time.
This first book is a great book to start with because the author is pretty explicit about the characters' feelings. Create a graphic organizer like this one using chart paper. Before reading, ask your students to think about how the main character is feeling throughout the story. After reading, show students your graphic organizer and reread to complete it.
Create a simple graphic organizer like these using chart paper to describe two characters from a book:
Sometimes you'll have a character showing lots of evidence of one main character trait like in this story:
A chart like this one shows how the characters felt. With this book you could also go into how the characters' feelings affected their actions.
How a character changes in a story:
How a character's feelings influence actions:
Predicting character traits:
Since fall doesn't last forever, I made a short list of books that would work at any point in the school year.
One character, multiple books, more evidence!
I shared this a few years ago, but I figured it's been long enough that maybe I should repost it!
Here's a list of character traits.
I shared a few graphic organizers a few years ago. I updated them a bit and I'm sharing them with you again today!
You can use these task cards with these books (or any other books) when you are teaching character analysis. These are just a few questions I find myself asking my students to get them thinking about characters.
To see my fall character analysis pack, click here.
For winter activities, click here: