What is a Character Trait?

What You Need:

  • A book of fiction
  • Pad of paper
  • Pencil

What You Do:

  1. Although first graders often start reading on their own, it's still a good idea to keep reading to them, too, especially longer, more complex stories. The next time you read a book together, take a few minutes to talk about the main character. Ask your child to describe this character in terms of character traits (for example, he is friendly, she is brave). As your child lists the character traits, write them down together.
  2. Ask your child to explain why they chose each character trait and which words in the book made them think it was true. For example, if your child described the main character as “friendly,” a text clue might be: He says hi to everyone in his neighborhood.
  3. A major element of becoming a strong reader is the ability to make predictions about what will happen next. Teachers often pause in the middle of a story, ask students to predict what a character will do next, and then keep reading to see if their prediction was right.
  4. For a fun spin on predictions, ask your child to guess how their character would do in the real world. For example, what might the character say over dinner? Behave at school? Give your child a pad of paper and ask them to use the character in their own story, placing the character into his or her everyday world.

This activity makes a great writing prompt. It's a kick for kids to imagine one of their favorite characters in the school cafeteria or playing ball at the park. So write on!

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