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Characters in Fiction Responding to a Challenge

Comprehension, Literacy

Written by: Katie Palmer

Teaching students about characters in fiction stories can be really fun. There are so many creative ways to do this whether it be through readers theater, a deep character study or art. When looking at a character it is important to study how they respond to a challenge. This will help students with fiction comprehension AND just maybe help them respond to challenges they may face in their own life. Keep reading for some teaching ideas and book recommendations for this skill!

How to Teach Character’s Response to Challenges

There are many ways/resources to teach this concept! The list below features teacher and student loved ideas!

1. Anchor Chart

The name says it all…the chart helps anchor learning! By building this chart with students it helps them think deeper about the character they are studying. This will hopefully translate into them being able to do this independently! Tip: Laminate the chart so it can be redone for each character study!

anchor chart and graphic organizer to help 2nd grade students break down how characters in fiction deal with challenges in the story

2. Videos

We all know students LOVE videos! Luckily, there are little video clips that are PERFECT for teacher about characters in fiction!

Ice Age Squirrel: This poor critter JUST wants his acorn, but challenges abound! Watch the video and discuss how he faces these challenges. Then, fill out the anchor chart!

Video Lesson: This video teaches about characters in fiction responding to a problem AND has students thinking about how they would respond too.

Cars: In this clip the characters work together to accomplish something great!

3. Resources:

Of course Lucky Little Learners has a resource to help you with this topic! Our reading passages bundle has 36 titles focused solely on character with comprehension questions to get kids thinking on character traits/response.

A Canoe Adventure reading passage to practice character analysis in fiction

This can be taught whole group, small group or independently! These passages can also be used for a fluency timed read. (Yay for multi use!)

Read more about them here: 2nd Grade Reading Comprehension Passages

Shop here: 2nd Grade Reading Comprehension Passages & Questions: Character


2nd Grade Leveled Reading Passages

2nd Grade Character Passages

Mentor Texts

Now that you have the teaching strategies ready, you need a mentor text with characters facing challenges! Here are our favorites.

Following are Amazon affiliate links. If you click and purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

1. Boxcar Children #1

In this story, the siblings must face life on their own, in a train boxcar! Kids have loved this story for years! AND, who might get some series lovers!

2. Brave Irene

The young girl character in this story has to face many obstacles while trying to help her mom with an errand.

3. Paper Bag Princess

A story that empowers young girls to face challenges!

4. A Bad Case of Stripes

This one is just plain fun! And it could lead to a fun art project after the character response lesson! Have kids draw themselves with a case of stripes!

5. Jamaica’s Find

In this realistic fiction story, a character must decide what to do in a situation students could easily find themselves in!

6. Stellaluna

In this student favorite, a young bat loses its mother and must face the challenges that come.

7. Rosie Revere, Engineer

Rosie is a young inventor who has trouble getting her latest inventions to work right.

Hopefully these resources will have students thinking about characters in fiction and how they would respond in the same challenge. Happy teaching!


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Welcome, I’m Angie!

Hello there! I’m Angie Olson- a teacher, curriculum developer, educational blogger and owner of Lucky Little Learners.

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