Grade Levels: K-3

This page provides information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about characters. It is designed to complement the Character topic page on BrainPOP Jr.

A character is any person, animal, or personified object in a story. Characters work together to tell a story. Usually there is one or a few main characters and varying number of supporting characters. In many stories, characters confront challenges and overcome obstacles and as a result, they grow and change. Characters vary as widely as people; they each have different personalities, backgrounds, and react to their surroundings in different ways.

Just like people, all characters have traits. Sometimes the author tells the reader exactly what the character is like, while other times the author gives clues to help the reader understand the character. One good way of understanding a character is to create a character chart, which can include information about how the character looks, how they feel about things, what they like or dislike, how other people react to them, and what they do or do not do. Another way your child can grasp a deeper understanding of a character is through comparisons. Your child can compare the character to him or herself, someone he or she knows, or to another character. How are they alike and different? How is the character like other characters in the story? How is the character alike or different from characters in other books?

In some stories, especially in fables or fairy tales, characters learn a lesson and change. When the character learns a lesson, the reader learns it as well. Writers and storytellers use characters as a way to teach about friendship, family, virtues, and life in general.

Encourage your child to think of memorable characters from books, poems, plays, television shows, and films. Why are these characters memorable? What makes them special? Would the story be different if the main character were different? What makes a good story? Have your child think about these questions when she or he reads. Good readers ask questions as they read a book, story, or poem. We recommend watching the Choosing a Book movie together as a review.