Thowback Thursday - Character Inferences FREEBIE and a Bloggy Buddy's Blogiversary Giveaway

Happy Thursday everyone.  I love Thursdays.  Seeing all of the throwback pics on Facebook and Instagram keep me smiling all day long.  Plus, it means the weekend is almost here!!

I'm linking up with The Teacher's Desk  for her Throwback Thursday linky.  This post is one on my most viewed.  I'm throwing it back out there because I've recently updated the FREEBIE involved.  I hope you're able to add it to your inferring 'bag of tricks.'

Here's the original post:

Our focus during Reader's Workshop the past few weeks has been on making inferences about character's personalities.  We are noticing and marking with sticky notes our character's actions, and writing about and discussing what those actions reveal to us about the character's personality.

For fifth grade readers, noticing their thinking while they read (metacognition), is a tough feat.  Each day I am modeling my noticings about our character's actions during our daily read aloud of the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  Which if you haven't read it yet, check it out!!  Great new book that addresses the issue of acceptance (close to the heart of middle school aged kids).

After I model and the students discuss their thinking with partners, they  head off to their just right books to practice independently. Right now we are using sticky notes to mark when a character does something that shows the reader a bit about that character's personality. The purpose is to mark this evidence so that later when we write a response in our reader's notebooks about our main character, we will have evidence to support the response.  The stems we are using to mark these places are:

I think it must be ________________ to be (main character) because..........

(I had students write this response after they finished the first chapter of their independent reading book to help them empathize with the main character and begin to think about what it must be like to be that character.)

I'm noticing that    (main character)                (action)_____ on page _____and this shows that he/she is          (character trait)       because...........

(We wrote this response on day two.  The students looked for a specific action - for example "I noticed that on page 32, John picked up his locker partner's papers that fell all over the ground. This shows me that John is kind and helpful because usually when someone I know picks up something I drop, they are doing it to be nice and they are helping me.)

I'm noticing that       (supporting character)              (action)_______ on page _____and this shows that he/she is       (character trait)        because............

(The purpose of this response on day three is to begin to compare character actions.  CCSS require fifth grade students to compare and contrast two characters in a text 5.RL.3.

I was surprised when       (main character)            ___(surprising action)_______ on page _____and this shows that he/she is (character trait) because .............

(Day four's response is to notice when the main character does something surprising and to use this noticing to continue to build inferences (theories) about the character's personality.  For example, "I noticed that on page 56, after John found out that he failed his math test, he slammed his locker door in his locker partner's face.  This showed me that even though John is usually kind and helpful, when he's frustrated, he can lose his temper and take it out on his friends.)

I'm noticing that ___(object)_________is very special to      (main character)      and this shows that he/she is (character trait)  because.............

(On day five we moved beyond noticing our character's actions to noticing special objects that will help us infer more about their personality. For example, "I noticed on page 77 that John has a picture of his dad hanging on the door of his locker. His dad is away at war.  Whenever he looks at the picture he thinks about what advice his dad would give him.  Sometimes the picture helps him, but sometimes it frustrates him.  This shows me that John is feeling lost in middle school without his dad around to give him advice."

Next week each student will write a one-page written response about "Who is _(main character)__________?  Tell me about his/her personality, likes, dislikes, and problems.  Use the evidence you've marked with sticky notes to support your response. Remember to cite the page numbers where you found the evidence."

I'm looking forward to reading the responses!!!  I hope this close, critical reading and noticing/marking of evidence will prove to pay off when they craft their thinking into a written reading response.  I'll keep you posted on how they turn out.  

If you want to try out the same questions stems with your students. Click here for a FREEBIE!

Bonus -  if you're interested in FREE lesson plans for teaching your readers to make character inferences click HERE. Our district is piloting/adopting the use of these lesson plans this year.


Lastly, I also hope you have the time to enter a very special giveaway.  It's my bloggy buddy and real life teammate - Stephanie Rye from Forever in Fifth's 1 year blogiversary. To celebrate she's giving you the chance to win her newest back to school product - Camp Read-A-Lot Reading Journal and 40 Book Challenge Bundle!  I've also donated my Common Core Critical Verbs Vocabulary Word Wall Set. The lucky winner will get BOTH prizes!!  Perfect for back to school bulletin boards!!  The giveaway begins tomorrow morning and ends next Friday, August 8th at midnight.  Tell all your friends!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I recently read Wonder and I loved it! I can't wait to read it with my kids this year. Thank you for this great idea to use with the book.

  2. I am currently reading the Ghost of Graylock. It has been the best so far.


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