Teaching about main character and character traits can be a lot of fun with the right activities. When teaching about characters, I read a different mentor text every day during reader’s workshop. You can read more about my favorite mentor texts for teaching character and character traits here.
Whole Group Lessons
I like to use a lot of “get up and move” activities for whole group lessons, which usually involves some sorting. When I introduce main character, I hand each student a card. The cards either have a picture (and name) of a character or something that is not a character. Then, I play a catchy Kids Bop song that they love. While the song is playing, they have to walk around the room with their card. Let’s be honest; they are normally dancing around the room! I will randomly stop the music and then they have to find the closest person to them. They read their card to their partner and tell their partner whether or not theirs is a character or not. Then, I play the music again and repeat! When we are finished, they bring their cards to the carpet and we sort them together.
Character Trait Cards
It’s important for students to see characters outside of books as well and in scenarios they have possibly been in so they can recognize the character traits in all characters. This activity involves reading a short paragraph about the character and then writing the inside and outside traits. I like to use this activity in whole group, small groups, and partners. I always read the paragraph because not all students can. It’s not about being able to read the content, but understanding the skill.
Small Group Cards
It’s important to reinforce teaching in small groups reading instruction as well. So, I use these character chit cards to discuss our different characters in our books. I can use them with any reading group because we talk about characters in all of our books.
I love to use Kevin Henkes’ books for teaching about character. His characters always have such strong qualities and his books teach important lessons for our primary students. So, it’s a win win! During the couple weeks that I teach character, we will read Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse and make this craftivity. My first graders love ‘crafts’ every year so I always try to incorporate one in our comprehension skills. This one is fun because we make Lilly from the book and then write a sentence about our favorite part from the story.
Small Group Centers
It’s important to implement some small group centers that reinforce what we are learning in class, but also centers that students can do independently. Side note: I also love that these centers can fit inside the Michaels Iris Photo Boxes because it makes storage so much easier and everything has its own space. These centers are very picture oriented so that struggling readers can be successful as well. Again, it’s about understanding the concept, not knowing how to read all the words.
See My Reading Unit Here
If you are interested in trying out this resource in your classroom, click here or the picture below.