In this lesson, students are introduced to ten popular storybook characters. The introduction will encourage them to read more broadly from books several series they may not have known. It will give them more “storybook friends” to enjoy and will enable them to recognize on sight more of the library’s collection.
To introduce children to ten storybook characters who appear in popular children’s book series. (AASL 4.1.1, “Read, view, and listen for pleasure and personal growth.”)
Each child will be able to recognize, on sight, ten popular storybook characters.
Remind the children that they have learned how to map a story, sequence a story, and even perform stories. Now, as we wrap up the storytelling and imagination unit, it is time to make sure that we “make friends” with some storybook characters just waiting to be discovered in the library.
Explain to the children that in today’s lesson, they will need to figure out who the main character is in each of the stories. If the children do not know what a character is, teach them that a character is an individual in a story. Characters are often people and animals, but sometimes they can even be objects!
Start one story from each of the series. Once the kids guess the character, give them the color picture on backing paper that you have prepared.
I like to make a T-chart with the character name on the left and the picture on the right. That way, when the lesson is over, they’ll have a Storybook Character Key Chart!
Normally I use the following ten characters/series, but I’ve suggested five others, and you should certainly customize this list so that it best fits your students and your school’s collection. (See attached photo for the Storybook Character Pictures.)
- Angelina Ballerina (created by Katharine Holabird)
- Arthur (created by Marc Tolon Brown)
- Biscuit (created by Alyssa Satin Capucilli)
- Elmer (created by David McKee)
- Frog and Toad (created by Arnold Lobel)
- Harry and the Dinosaurs (created by Ian Whybrow)
- Hugless Douglas (created by David Melling)
- Olivia (created by Ian Falconer)
- Winnie the Pooh (created by A.A. Milne)
- Winnie the Witch (created by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul)
Other storybook characters you could add (there are many more!):
- Berenstain Bears (created by Stan and Jan Berenstain)
- Little Critter (created by Mercer Mayer)
- Madeline (created by Ludwig Bemelmans)
- Franklin (created by Paulette Bourgeois)
- Lowly Worm and Busytown (created by Richard Scarry)
- Elephant & Piggie (created by Mo Willems)
Wrap-up by challenging the children to check out books in the series they have learned about today. Review the names of each of the characters and make sure that the kids know where to find the books in the library.
- A collection of picture books for each of the ten story book characters. If you pull five or six books from each series, that is 50 or 60 books. This is a book-heavy lesson, so you’ll need to be well organized and well prepared.
- Color pictures of each of the storybook characters, mounted on colorful backing paper, for each class. I like to leave a character collection in each class to remind the kids of which characters to look for on their next visit to the library.
I find that circulation of the featured series’ goes way up after this lesson, so be prepared for a run on the highlighted books.
If you need the children to do some writing in this lesson, you could easily create a T-Chart and have them record the names of the characters and draw a simple picture of each character.
Also, I find it very helpful to use the character pictures you give to each class in the library. Preliterate students will be able to independently find their favorite books if you have pictures of the characters on the bookshelves, boxes, or signage.
Recommended books for this lesson:
- An assortment of Angelina Ballerina books (created by Katharine Holabird)
- An assortment of Arthur books(created by Marc Tolon Brown)
- An assortment of Biscuit books (created by Alyssa Satin Capucilli)
- An assortment of Elmer books (created by David McKee)
- An assortment of Frog and Toad books (created by Arnold Lobel)
- An assortment of Harry and the Dinosaurs books (created by Ian Whybrow)
- An assortment of Hugless Douglas books (created by David Melling)
- An assortment of Olivia books (created by Ian Falconer)
- An assortment of Winnie the Pooh books (created by A.A. Milne)
- An assortment of Winnie the Witch books (created by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul)
Or, add the books/series you included in the lesson.