EL Support Lesson

Comparing Character Traits

Use this lesson to help your ELs compare and contrast characters' thoughts and actions using a Venn Diagram. It can be a stand-alone lesson or a support lesson.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the What's So Different? Comparing Characters lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the What's So Different? Comparing Characters lesson plan.

Students will be able to compare and contrast characters based on their character traits.


Students will be able to explain the differences and similarities between characters with transition words using a graphic organizer.

(3 minutes)
  • Choose a student to read the language objective to the class.
  • Ask another student to reread the objective and give examples of differences and similarities they see in the classroom.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute and display the Comparing Characters: Haunted Hotel worksheet. Preview the text with the students by asking them to look at the title and skim the text to find difficult words.
  • Model reading the text and circle the key terms they will define later using context clues. Ask students to copy all your teacher model markings on their own papers.
  • Read a sample sentence with a key term and its context clues. For example, "Other people say it's a ghost with a scary presence. They know it's there, even if they can't see it." Circle the word presence and underline the context clues that gives a hint towards its meaning in this context (e.g., "scary," "ghost," "can't see it").
  • Distribute the Context Clues Table worksheet and model completing the worksheet for the word presence.
  • Tell students they'll look for the meanings of the words you circled in the text by looking at the sentences around the keyword. Allow students to work in partnerships and choose students to share their example sentences from the Context Clues Table worksheet with the class.
(8 minutes)
  • Explain to students that now they'll compare and contrast their new vocabulary words using transition words from the Language Frames: Compare and Contrast worksheet.
  • Define the words compare and contrast as finding the similarities and differences between two things, and provide a simple comparison using the Language Frames: Compare and Contrast worksheet. For example, "Even though math class and reading class happen in the same classroom, they differ because of what you learn during the class period."
  • Give a different example but this time use a comparison about the vocabulary terms (e.g., the words hotel and lobby are alike because they both mention a location).
  • Allow students to separate into groups and discuss similarities and differences between the vocabulary words (e.g., some are verbs, some describe physical features, and some have different meanings based on their context).
  • Ask students to switch partners and see if they can create new comparisons with their new partners.
  • Allow one group to share their favorite comparison with the class.
(8 minutes)
  • Tell students they will now compare and contrast the two characters, Alex and Sally, based on their actions and thoughts in the text.
  • Distribute two different colored markers to each student and ask them to read the Comparing Characters: Haunted Hotel worksheet, making sure to highlight all the things Alex does or says in one color. Tell them to use the other color for Sally's actions and thoughts.
  • Ask students to use the sentence frames to create comparisons about Sally and Alex. Allow them to share and adjust their answers in their partnerships.
  • Choose two students to give a comparison sentence using the sentence frames if necessary. For example, "While Sally was hesitant to go get the puck, Alex was determined to get the puck because it was his last one."


  • Provide the Vocabulary Cards worksheet to assist with the meanings of the key terms. Cover the definitions, and have students focus on the images.
  • Underline the context clues and allow ELs to guess the meaning of the terms in their home language (L1) or new language (L2), and then complete the context clue graphic organizer.
  • Allow ELs to reread the text after their partner has read the text aloud.


  • Choose Advanced ELs to share their information before Beginning ELs.
  • Ask them to provide example sentences using the new vocabulary during the word level focus section.
  • Have them restate directions in their own words or their L1.
(7 minutes)
  • Review how to complete a Venn diagram using the diagram at the bottom of the Comparing Characters: Haunted Hotel worksheet. Ask students to place the character's actions or thoughts in the correct section of the diagram.
  • Tell students they don't have to write the actions and thoughts of each character in complete sentences on the Venn diagram, but they'll need to be prepared to share sentences later.
(4 minutes)
  • Allow one student to share the Venn diagram from the Formative Assessment section. Choose another student to share a comparative sentence about Alex and Sally using sentence frames.
  • Have a different student close the lesson and explain the process for comparing and contrasting characters in a text. Allow the other students to provide corrections or assistance as needed.

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