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Literacy Tip of the Week: Week of May 21st

posted May 22, 2017, 1:05 PM by Courtney Richardson

Character Feelings versus Character Traits

I recently received a question from a second grade teacher who is struggling with how to teach her readers the difference between a character feeling and a character trait. A feeling is a response to an event. Feelings often change throughout a story. A character can be excited at the beginning of the story, scared in the middle and proud at the end. When I teach children this strategy, I insert a sticky note on three pages where the character’s feelings change. Then as children read, they write a feeling word on the sticky note. I often give students a few feeling words to choose from so they don’t write trite words such as “happy,” “sad” or “mad.” Once children acquire a bank of interesting feeling words, I give them a copy of the Character Feelings and Traits chart from page 327 in my new book. This makes them responsible for choosing the best feeling word for each page.

A trait describes what the character is like on the inside. Traits do not usually change in a story. Traits are usually revealed by the actions a character takes in response to an event. For example, if a character is bullied and he stands up to the bully, then the character is courageous or bold.  If a character wants to help someone in need, then the character is considerate or thoughtful. Try out the progressive steps on page 271 of my new book and use the character feelings/traits chart in appendix M. 

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