EL Support Lesson

Character Traits in Fairy Tales

As your learners identify physical and internal character traits, make sure they provide evidence. Use this as a stand alone lesson, or as a pre-lesson for the <a href="https://www.education.com/lesson-plan/fairy-tales-character-traits/" target="_blank">Fairy Tales: Character Traits</a> lesson.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Fairy Tales: Character Traits lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Fairy Tales: Character Traits lesson plan.

Students will be able to describe a character's traits using text-based support.


Students will be able to identify and discuss character traits in a text with adjectives, verbs, and adverbs using a graphic organizer.

(2 minutes)
  • Give each student a sticky note and instruct them to write one word that describes them. Have them put the sticky note on the board.
  • Read through the sticky notes, keeping student names anonymous, and elaborate about what the sticky note describes. For example, clarify that the word tall describes a person's appearance. The word shy describes a person's actions, thoughts, and feelings. Write the word Adjectives above the students' notes and explain that each of these words is an ajdecitve, which is a word that describes a noun.
  • Share the student-friendly language objective by reading it aloud. Have learners repeat it. Explain that today's lesson will be about using clues in the text, in the form of adjectives, verbs, and adverbs, to help us learn about the characters.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to students that two of the most important key terms for today's lesson are internal character traits and physical character traits. The internal traits are the words that describe what a person says, thinks, or does. The physical traits are the words that describe what a person looks like.
  • Display the following vocabulary words: rage, seek, scramble, shiver, horror.
  • Model using context clues to determine the meaning of the word rage with the following sentence: Ella's stepsisters went into a rage when they found out Ella planned to go to the dance, and they yelled, tore her dress to shreds, and stomped away.
    • Explain that the stepsisters felt very angry if they yelled, stomped, and ripped up the dress. Rage must mean extremely angry.
  • Write a sentence on the board for each of the key terms with sufficient clues that would allow students to figure out the meaning of the word.
  • Put learners into small groups and assign each group a sentence. Have them read it aloud together and then discuss the word meaning and helpful context clues. Call on student volunteers to share out. Provide sentence frames for students to use as they share, such as: "The word means..., I know this because the sentence says..."
  • Give each student a Glossary and review the student-friendly definitions of each word. Challenge students to talk to partners about what type of additional image could represent each vocabulary word.
(10 minutes)
  • Place three pieces of chart paper around the room, each labeled with Adjective, Adverb, and Verb. Go over the definition of each word and provide examples. Then, use the examples in a sentence.
    • An adjective is a word that describes a noun. (For example: young; The young girl walked to class.)
    • An adverb is a word that describes a verb or adjective. (For example: quickly; The bird quickly flew away.)
    • A verb is a word that describes an action. (For example: walked; I walked down the street with my friend.)
  • Divide the class into small groups. Give each group an envelope full of index cards that have a variety of adjectives, adverbs, and verbs. Instruct groups to sort them at their desk into three categories, Adjectives, Adverbs, and Verbs.
  • Instruct groups to tape the words to the correct poster that identifies each word's part of speech. Engage the class in a discussion about the words and how they help us better understand a character or person. Provide learners with a sentence frame as they share their thoughts: "The word helps me learn about the character because..."
  • Choose a word from each of the charts to create a sentence. For example: The bright student carefully seeks information for her project.
  • Think aloud about what you learned about the person, or the subject, of the sentence by paying attention to the adjective, verb, and adverb. For example: I can tell the girl is smart and motivated because she carefully looks for information that will help her complete her project.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the worksheet entitled Character Traits in Fairy Tales to each student. Review the information box at the top and the directions.
  • Instruct students to read the passage with a partner, and note the adjectives, adverbs, and verbs that describe Hansel. Have them place the words in the chart. Instruct students to circle any new words they want to discuss, and provide student-friendly definitions and images as needed.
  • Go over the chart and place adjectives, adverbs, and verbs onto the teacher copy of the worksheet. Think aloud about what each of those words means as they describe Hansel. For example, "If Hansel encouraged his sister, it means that he cares about her. It also shows that he is brave because this is all happening in a scary, dark forest."
  • Have partners complete the paragraph frame at the bottom. Circulate and monitor student conversations and progress on the task. Provide feedback as needed.


  • Allow access to reference materials in home language (L1).
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary to the teacher.
  • Partner ELs with students that will offer support during discussions and group work.
  • Provide ELs with a word bank to use on the Character Traits in Fairy Tales worksheet.
  • Give ELs a simplified version of the text on the Character Traits in Fairy Tales worksheet.
  • Ask ELs to verbally summarize information that was modeled before moving on to student practice.
  • Provide a paragraph frame to assist ELs in their Frayer Model explanation. Allow them to say their explanation to a partner or the teacher before completing the paragraph frame.


  • Allow learners to utilize a glossary, thesaurus, and dictionary for help with unfamiliar words.
  • Choose advanced ELs to share their ideas first in group and class discussions. Ask advanced ELs to add on, rephrase, or clarify what their peers say in a class discussion.
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary, summarizing important information for the class.
(5 minutes)
  • Pass out a copy of the Frayer Model worksheet to each student. Have them complete the worksheet for the term, character traits.
(3 minutes)
  • Have students share their Frayer Model worksheets in partnerships. Call on non-volunteers to share a piece of information that both partners have in common on their graphic organizer. Create a teacher copy to display.
  • Remind learners that there are words in the story that help us learn about the character. By looking at the adjectives, adverbs, and verbs, we learn a lot about what the character looks like (physical character traits) and what the character says, does, and thinks (internal character traits). It is important to read carefully so that we can notice all the clues the author has left for us.

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