What makes you want to stick with a fiction book beyond the first page or two? Great setting, great illustrations, great topic…all important. But the number one hook to keep me in the book is wonderful characters. They could be wonderfully good or wonderfully bad, but they must be interesting characters that I feel connected to. Understanding characterization is important for young writers to hook their own readers with powerful characters. Understanding characterization is important for young readers, so they can understand stories more deeply by understanding how the author uses characters to make stories come to life.
Encourage your child to go through the following steps to become a story character. It will make the concept of characterization come to life.
1. Look at a few snapshots of yourself taken from babyhood through your current age.
2. Think. If someone wrote the story of your life, what would the readers find out about your personality? How would the author describe how you look? How would the author describe a problem you have? Which real events in your life could the author describe to teach the readers something about your personality?
3. Have you changed in some way throughout your life? Have any events or people made you change the way you think or act? Have your likes and dislikes changed throughout your life?
4. When authors write fictional stories, they think about all of the little details that make their characters special. Think about your favorite character in a story. Brainstorm everything you know about that character. Why do you like that character best? Notice the way the author describes characters and how he or she gives you little clues to help you learn about characters.
Understanding characterization helps you understand the story better. Every time you read, pay special attention to how the unique characters make the story more interesting!
Want more resources for reinforcing the skill of characterization?
- Make an interactive character scrapbook.
- Use picture books to study how authors write about their characters.
- Make wordy character cutouts.
- Find characters with good character. My Super Character Study resource helps you reinforce a reading skill AND a life skill.