Character Sketch is a free download available on Teachers Pay Teachers. The activity provides young writers with an opportunity to develop their understanding of character development and stereotypes by selecting an illustration of one of two characters and then writing a detailed profile, or Character Study, of their chosen character. The activity booklet is targeted to fourth through tenth graders, though the lessons could be expanded to adult learners as well.
The two characters presented are representations of two stereotypes that are vastly different from each other in appearance and perceived lifestyle. Students are first asked to select an image, then answer a series of questions using their own creative interpretation of the images. From these answers, students will have enough character development to create the character profile assignment, which is also described in the lesson. Students then are instructed to read over their character studies and analyze what they learn about their characters, using a four-part chart that teaches the key points of how readers learn about characters.
The workbook provides a well-rounded lesson in the important aspects of character development and characterization. Students who are beginning to develop creative writing skills will benefit from the many character attributes that the exercises in the workbook will develop, and the practice of reviewing the character sketch is also a valuable lesson for young readers and writers who might not otherwise have spent much time thinking critically about the characters they meet in literature or create for themselves.
An interesting extension of the exercise, suggested by the author, is to have students write their perceptions of a character and then create a story or profile in which the character does NOT fit with the expectations that the character’s personal appearance would set up.
You can download your own copy of Character Sketch here.
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