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
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.
Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.