I also remember the stories my dad told me when I was growing up that always had the same character in them ... it was a mischievous little girl who go into all kinds of crazy situations and she always learned a lesson in the end!
As I was looking through Journeys: The Teaching of Writing in Elementary Classroom by Carolyn L. Piazza, I came across a Character Fact Sheet. Since Piazza's book is about teaching writing, I know the point of the fact sheet is for brainstorming for full character development, but when I first saw it, I started thinking of ways it could be used to explore the characters in the books children read.
The fact sheet I found is a list of questions used to create a detailed character sketch. Looking at the questions, I think that some of them could be answered easily about some characters after reading a book ... Let's call those the "look and find" questions. There are other questions in the list that would require a making inferences and a bit more thinking ... Let's call those the "read and think" questions.
There are many uses for both types of questions. I think the "look and find" questions can be a good indicator of a child's ability to read and remember details. They can also provide a little look at fluency since it is much easier to know where to "look and find" when reading the story doesn't involve focusing so much on decoding the words. In my mind, the "read and think" questions encourage critical thinking that goes beyond what is explicitly stated by the author. Those involve knowing the story and the characters on a deeper level.
Here are a few of the questions from the Character Fact Sheet in Piazza's book:
- What is your character's name?
- What does you character look like?
- What types of things does you character like to do?
- What types of things does your character dislike?
- What problems does your character face?
- What might your character say?
- What might your character think?
- How would your character react to others?
- Why is your character interesting to know?
- What sort of emotions might your character feel?
- What is your character's biggest fear?
You could even have children answer some of these questions using the Write Section of Big Universe Learning ...
I wonder what kind of questions could be added to a Character Fact Sheet?
What might be a good brainstorming activity for children ...