Character traits

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Common core standards


Related articles


Teaching strategies

Figuring out character traits is an important part of Inference. Kylene Beers lists "Identifying] characters' beliefs, personalities, and motivations" as one of her thirteen types of inference. Students often struggle with the difference between a character trait like honorable and a fact about a character like hates broccoli. Here are some resource to help students master this concept!


Graphic organizers


  • Scholastic Character Traits 2 has the character name in the middle, a thought bubble for something the character thinks, a heart for something they feel, etc. Underneath each bubble is the trait that can be inferred.


  • Sanchez Class Character Frame has four columns for character, character traits, actions that support the trait, and conversations by or about the character that illustrate that trait.


  • Read Write Think Identifying Character Traits Handout is pretty awesome. It discusses what character traits are and how readers figure them out from the characters’ actions. At the bottom, it suggest a basic organizer students can use to infer character traits. Students list character actions on the left and adjectives that describe the action on the right. When adjectives start clustering, you’ve got a character trait. Intended for middle school students. Here is the graphic organizer that goes with it. Being the awesome ReadWriteThink website, they’ve also got an interactive version of the same organizer.






Sentence Frames

  • Edbridge Primary Developing Readers has explanations of character traits and sentences frames for K-2, although some could be used with older students.
    • ”I think____ feels ______.
    • I think ____acted like ____.
    • I have/have not felt like __________.
    • The character _____ is _____ because _______.
    • I think the ________ was _______ because_______.
    • _________ reminds me of __________.” [1]


Lists of traits





Classroom activities

Primary (K-2/3)


Upper elementary (3/4-5)

  • Identify Character Traits on Lesson Plans Page has a nice approach for helping students go beyond just listing physical characteristics. First the students listen to a description of a character and then they move into generating a list of character traits. The idea that character traits are often implied, not stated is stressed. Then students draw character traits out of a hat and have to write a brief character description that implies that trait.



  • Kelly Hayden on Bright Hub suggests making a character trait Cinquian:
    • ”A cinquain is a five-line poem that focuses on one subject. Students can use the character trait list from the first page of this lesson to help them write the cinquain. The rules to write a character trait cinquain are as follows:
  1. Write the character's name
  2. Write two character traits that describe the character as a whole
  3. Write three verbs that describe the character's actions
  4. Write a four word phrase that gives the writer's opinion about the character
  5. Write a noun that is another name or word for the character.” [2]


Middle School and above

  • Traci Gardner on ReadWriteThink has uploaded a complete lesson plan on Character Traits. The lesson has students review what character traits are and then generate lists of traits to describe mystery characters from their book. The other students have to guess what character is being described. If more than one student chooses a character, the similarities and differences between the chosen adjectives are discussed. The lesson plan includes graphic organizers, handouts, and an impressive amount of detail.



Cyber activities

Char traits rocket.JPG
| Harcourt School Grade 4 Inferring Character Traits Activity has students read a passage about a character and then answer questions about her.


Free worksheets

  • Mrshatzi InferCharacter has over two pages of short statements about characters. Students have to infer a character trait from each statement and justify it.


Videos

Helpful links


Product reviews

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