Reading Strategy: Character Traits
For the past 2 weeks, we have been focusing on the main characters in our books. We started this by charting information. We made T-charts in our Reader's Notebooks for:
- What does the character look like? (web)
- What does the character say/think and what does that teach us about the character?
- What does the character do and what does that tell us about character traits?
- What do OTHERS say about the character and how does that make him/her feel?
- How has the character changed from the beginning of the story to the end?
I have been reading Wonder to my class at Read Aloud and the main character is a great for this unit. I start my mini-lesson and model with Wonder the strategy/chart I want the kids to use in their Reader's Notebooks. They then take their Independent Reading book and work independently to complete the chart. At this time, I take a small group and guide a Literature Circle. We are reading Loser and Maniac Magee. After I meet with my Literature Circle, they go to a place in the room and work independently to practice what I taught in the mini-lesson. I then bring 2-3 kids to my table and review the independent work they were completing while I was with the Literature Circle. I have some kids marking with post-its big events in their story, so we review that at this time. There is a lot going on during Reader's Workshop, but it flows nicely now. We have worked hard to get this time of the day to run smoothly - and putting the time, definitely has saved time!
This student is working on finding big events in her story. I had her read a few pages to me and then we discussed what happened that was important. She then listed the events on a post-it. After we did a couple together, she worked on her own while I went around the room to check on Character Map progress. She will work on her Character Map after about 10 mins at the table.
Students who have finished their Character Maps are silently reading.
To really hone in on the character traits, students completed an over-sized Character Map. They took a large piece of construction paper and drew out what they think their character looks like. Each part of the body has a different question answered.
- Head: What does your character think about?
- Hands: What has your character done?
- Heart: What does your character care about?
- Feet: Where has your character been?
To help them get started, I showed them an outline of my Character Map. We discussed what we would write and draw for the main character in Wonder. They then went to their Reader's Notebooks and planned out what they would write for their character. Next, they drew our their character on the large construction paper and got to work! They did a great job of describing these things in their Character Maps with words, pictures, and symbols.