Character Charts

Rationale

The Character Charts strategy involves using graphic organizers to help students organize information about major and minor characters in a text. Completed character charts are useful tools for writing essays and studying for tests. They’re often used to record information about literary characters, but they can be adapted for historical figures.

Procedure

  1. Decide the Purpose of Character Charts
    There are many reasons to have students use character charts. Here are some:
    • To help students more deeply understand characters in the text
    • To help students develop the skill of looking for textual evidence
    • To ensure accountability for student reading
    • To help students prepare for an essay or final project
    • As an assessment tool to measure students’ understanding of the text
    Why are you having students keep a character chart? Your answer to this question will inform the way you approach Step 2 and Step 3.
  2. Prepare the Chart
    Which characters you would like students to focus on? What information you would like them to track? Do you want students to track multiple characters or to follow one character? Build a chart based on your answers to these questions or use the accompanying handout.
  3. Structure the Character Chart Activity
    Students can work on character charts individually or in small groups. Often teachers have students share information on character charts through using the Jigsaw teaching strategy. Sometimes students complete charts as a whole-class activity. You could also organize this activity as a gallery walk, where a sheet for each character is posted on the wall and students walk around the room filling in information on the different charts.

Handout

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