EL Support Lesson

Choosing Character Traits

Use this lesson to help your ELs learn character traits and find them in a text. It can be a stand-alone lesson or a support lesson to the Identifying Character Traits lesson.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Identifying Character Traits lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Identifying Character Traits lesson plan.

Students will be able to identify character traits and find portions of textual evidence to support them.


Students will be able to identify characters with nouns and associated pronouns using strategic group activitites.

(5 minutes)
  • Choose a student to read the language objective to the class. Ask another student to reread the objective and give examples of a character trait from a recent picture book.
  • Distribute the sticky notes and ask students to write down their definition of a character trait.
  • Define character traits as words and phrases that describe a character’s behavior or attitude. Allow students to talk to their elbow partner to share their definition with each other.
(8 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the Vocabulary Cards and ask students to discuss in partners which words they think are character traits and circle the words they don't know. Ask one or two students to share their partner’s responses.
  • Define the key terms and provide context for each of the words with examples of how someone with a particular trait would act.
  • Allow students to act out each of the keywords that are character traits while the other students guess the character trait (e.g., anxious, witty, showing perseverance, hesitant, determined).
  • Ask students to share additional character traits they would like to act out and add them to their glossary and vocabulary cards. Use the Vocabulary Cards Template worksheet and the Glossary Template worksheet for additional pages.
(10 minutes)
  • Tell students they'll have to be able to find character traits from reading a text, but first they need to know how to find the characters. Distribute the main character page from the Reading for Comprehension: Jason and the Game Show worksheet.
  • Define nouns as a person, place or thing and pronouns as a word that can take the place of a noun or noun phrase. Remind students the text will usually have the character’s name with a capital letter and the pronouns that follow the same gender. For example, "Jason is a boy so the author uses the pronouns he, him and his to help readers find what Jason says and does."
  • Write the following quote from the text on the board: “His friends asked him questions on the playground at recess.” Explain to students that in the sentence, His is a pronouns and refers back to Jason. The friends have actions in the text. For example, "They help Jason practice his trivia." They is another pronoun.
  • Ask students to skim through the text only looking for nouns and pronouns that relate to a character’s actions (i.e., teacher, mother, family, Jason, his, he). Allow two students to project their answers and the other students to adjust their answers as necessary.
  • Allow a student to share a sentence that has a character’s pronoun and action. Use that sentence to explain the relationship between the noun and pronouns. Ask the students to share what character trait is accurate for that character based on the sentence.
(6 minutes)
  • Explain that characters show their character traits through the things that motivate, or encourage them.
  • Read the main character page from the Reading for Comprehension: Jason and the Game Show worksheet. Tell students this text is about someone who was really motivated to get onto the gameshow “Class Act.”
  • Ask students to highlight the words or phrases that show Jason’s character traits (e.g., perseverance, determination) and then share their answers in partnerships. Correct misconceptions and share your thinking aloud.


  • Simplify the text and provide bolded vocabulary words with their definitions for the main character page worksheet.
  • Provide character traits with pictures for ELs to use in their discussions and allow them to use their home language (L1) or new language (L2).
  • Ask students to repeat directions and reword other student's answers when possible.


  • Ask them to define the character traits they add to the list and to act them out before Beginning ELs.
  • Have them rephase instructions and key ideas throughout the lesson.
  • Place them with Begnning ELs with the same L1 to allow for conversations in their L1.
(6 minutes)
  • Ask the students to find the character trait of Jason’s family. Allow them to use the list of character traits from the second page of the Character Traits Making Inferences worksheet, or their glossaries.
  • Distribute the lined paper and ask students to explain their answer. Provide the following sentence frame for assistance: "The family is ____ because they ____."
(3 minutes)
  • Act out one of the vocabulary words about character traits and ask students to guess the trait and give a reason to support the guess.
  • Choose a student to explain why it’s important to know the relationship between nouns and pronouns and how to identify pronouns in a text.

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