As students make their way up in elementary school, the need for character development in
their writing increases. Olivia, by Ian Falconer, is a great lesson in character study. After reading the book aloud to your class (for the pure joy of it), go back and reread it, asking kids at the end of most pages, what they learned about the character. Rather than saying the specifics of this character, such as, “Olivia is good at many things,” phrase the answers like this: “What this character is good at doing?”
- What this character is good at doing?
- Who is in this character’s family?
- What bothers this character and what does s/he do about it?
- What does this character do in the morning?
- Other things this character does:
- What does this character like to do?
- What does this character thinks is important?
- What happened to this character last summer?
- What are other things this character likes to do?
- How does this character feel about it?
- Where are places this character goes?
- What things does this character do that gets him/her in trouble?
- What things happen at the end of this character’s day?
- What is this character afraid of (which sometimes help create conflict or character motivation in the story.)
- What is one reason why readers would like this character (everyone has something special about them—what is this character’s something special?)