EL Support Lesson

Verbs that Show Character Action

Use this lesson to teach your students how to identify character actions with verbs. This lesson can stand alone or be used as a pre-lesson for the *Look for the Clues* lesson.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Look for the Clues lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Look for the Clues lesson plan.

Students will be able to predict characters' actions using clues and evidence from the text.


Students will be able to identify character actions with verbs using a graphic organizer.

(3 minutes)
  • Have students take out their whiteboard and whiteboard markers. Tell them that you will act out a few situations and they will write down one word to describe what is going on.
  • Act out a situation without talking (e.g., looking for something frantically, dropping a book, bumping your head) and ask students to write the word down. Then, discuss as a class and record a single verb to describe the situation.
  • Continue the process of acting out a situation and having students share one word to describe what was going on.
  • Explain to students that they just focused on the action in those situations, and they will do the same as readers during this lesson.
(7 minutes)
  • Introduce the tiered words by displaying the Vocabulary Cards. Explain that an action is something that we do for a specific purpose. A word to describe the action is a verb. Circle back to the Introduction section of the lesson to review the actions and verbs from each situation that was acted out.
  • Guide students into a deeper look at the tiered words by going over the Glossary. Distribute a copy to each student and have them label the last column as Example.
  • Instruct students to work together in partners to come up with an example of each tiered word and record it on the Glossary. Go over these as a class and record exemplar answers on a teacher copy to serve as a reference for the remainder of the lesson as needed.
(8 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the Point Out the Action Verbs worksheet to each student. Review the definition of verb and teach about action verbs. Go over the example and ask students to suggest additional examples of action verbs.
  • Think aloud and model completing the first example in Part 1 of the worksheet. Have students work in partnerships to complete the remainder of the section. Go over answers as a class, and ask students to explain their thinking. Provide sentence stems for class discussion: "This is/isn't a verb because ____."
  • Tell students that they will now read sentences and pick out the action verbs. Think aloud and model finding the action verbs in the first three examples in Part 2.
  • Invite students to engage in identifying the action verbs in the next two sentences. Ask them to explain their thinking, and call on another student to agree or disagree with the explanation.
  • Instruct students to work with their partner to complete the remainder of Part 2. Go over answers as a class by calling on nonvolunteers.
(14 minutes)
  • Tell students that they will have a better understanding of a story when they are able to pick out character actions. When we can identify action verbs, we can understand what the characters are doing.
  • Pass out a copy of the Looking at Character Actions worksheet to each student. Read aloud the passage and have them circle any unfamiliar words. Provide written and visual definitions as necessary.
  • Explain the purpose of the chart on the worksheet and model answering the first question. Find the text evidence, record it in the chart, and show students how to write the answer in your own words. Have them record your answer on their worksheets.
  • Instruct students to work in partnerships to complete the remainder of the chart. Remind them to find the text evidence first and then reword it. Emphasize the importance of "talking it out" before writing the answer on the chart.
  • Review the answers by calling on nonvolunteers to share text evidence and the answer in their own words.
  • Ask students to turn the paper over and create a list of action verbs that apply to Anita. Model an example by having them write down an action verb. For example, say, "An action verb to describe Anita is worked because she worked on her project." Facilitate a class discussion and ask students to defend their answers.


  • Allow access to reference materials in home language (L1).
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary to the teacher.
  • Provide sentence stems and frames for students to use when working with partners and small groups.


  • Allow learners to utilize glossaries and dictionaries for unfamiliar words.
  • Choose advanced ELs to share their ideas first in group and class discussions.
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary, summarizing important information for the class.
  • Challenge students to include more than one action verb in their Formative Assessment task.
(5 minutes)
  • Give each student an index card for an Exit Ticket and have them write a sentence about a character from their independent reading book. Instruct them to use an action verb and circle it.
(3 minutes)
  • Have students share their sentences from the Exit Ticket in partnerships. Call on a few nonvolunteers to share with the whole group.
  • Ask students to act out an action verb for the class and have their peers identify the verb.
  • Remind students that we can better understand characters when we look at their actions. When we understand the characters, we are able to better understand the story as a whole.

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