Why Characters Change

Contributor: Kim Trexler. Lesson ID: 10363

Learn about main characters and how they change using your favorite books and some really great stories, like Corduroy, Listen Buddy, and Sheila Rae, the Brave!



learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


"He’s such a character!"

You may have heard that phrase before when it refers to someone who is funny or mischievous. But characters can be so much more than that as they can change from the beginning to the end of a book. Today we are going to talk about characters in stories.

  • Can you think of a favorite character in a book that you have read?

Describe what your favorite character looks like and acts like, and why you like that character!

A main character is someone whose activities, thoughts and feelings are revealed in a story. It does not always have to be a person.

The reader learns about the characters through details in the story. Often, something will happen in a story that changes the way the character feels. For example, in the story A Bad Road for Cats, the reader is introduced to a poor, harsh woman named Magda who is searching for her lost cat. As Magda goes through the process of searching and eventually finding her cat, she begins to show kindness and compassion for the young boy who found and cared for the cat.

As you are reading a story, use clues in the text and pictures to help figure out how the character feels at the beginning and then what happens in the story to change the way the character is feeling at the end.

Watch and listen to Sheila Rae, the Brave (below). Tally how many times you see a picture of Sheila Rae.

Now let’s talk about the story with your teacher. The main character of the story usually appears on most of the pages. Sheila Rae is the main character in this story because the story is mostly about her.

  • Who else could be a main character is this story because she appears a lot in this book?
  • Do you think it could be Louise?

You could go back and read the story again and tally how many times a picture of her appears in this story.

Now think about some of the other characters in the story.

  • Who IS NOT a main character?

Sheila Rae's mom is an example. These characters are called secondary characters. They do not appear as much in the story, but they are still important!

Sometimes the main character changes in a story. Today, we will read about a little bunny. You should be able to describe what the bunny was like at the beginning of the story and what he was like at the end. Think about what events happened in the story that caused Buddy to change.

Listen Buddy by Helen Lester read aloud:

Now let’s talk about the story with your teacher.

  • What was Buddy like in the beginning of the story? What happened near the end of the story that changed him?

  • Buddy found out that listening is important. Can you relate to the main character, Buddy? Have you ever had a time when you didn’t listen to your parents? What happened? And how did you change? How are you and Buddy alike? And how are you different (besides the ears!)?

  • You and your teacher could also fill in this Read Write Think Graphic Organizer about how a character changes. Feel free to use it with the story, Listen Buddy, or use it with any other story you may be reading. If you do a really good job, maybe your teacher will even put a sticker on the paper!

Elephango's Philosophy

We help prepare learners for a future that cannot yet be defined. They must be ready for change, willing to learn and able to think critically. Elephango is designed to create lifelong learners who are ready for that rapidly changing future.