Teaching About Characterization in "The Kid in the Red Jacket": Book Activities for Middle School

Teaching About Characterization in "The Kid in the Red Jacket": Book Activities for Middle School
Page content

Purpose of the Lesson

A well-balanced reading program will provide students with many opportunities to read for pleasure, discover new words and learn about

characters and settings. In these lesson plans students will:

  • Identify the main characters

  • Identify the traits of the main characters

  • Identify the feelings of each of the main characters

  • Present their findings in interesting ways such as though illustrations, interviews, writing, etc.

Get to Know the Characters

After reading the book The Kid in the Red Jacket, ask your students to make a list of the characters in the book and, besid

red jacket

e each one’s name, have them describe one of that character’s traits. On a chart, make a list of the main characters and beside each one, add the students' responses. Did the majority of the students have the same feelings about each of the characters?

Work Stations

Set up work stations so that students are able to progress through them at their own pace.

Provide paper divided into four sections. Ask students to choose one character and print the name at the top of the paper across all the sections. In each section. ask them to show through illustration a situation where one of the other characters is describing how the chosen character reacts during that scene or interaction. (An example would be Howard meeting Molly for the first time; Howard at his first lunch at school; Howard and Mr. Jeeter; Howard and Ollie.)

Provide large sheets of paper, crayons, markers, etc. Ask students to draw a picture of their chosen character and write down their observations of him or her at the beginning of the book. How do they look? How do they act? What do they like? What do they not like? Who do they like? Who do they not like? What do other people think about them? On the other side of the paper, draw a picture of the same character and write down the observations of him or her at the end of the book. The students might like to list their questions on a separate shhet of paper for easy reference.

Provide note paper, a microphone, some dress up “reporter” clothes. Set up this scenario: You are a reporter for a local radio station (or newspaper) and you are conducting a survey on how newcomers see the town. Is it welcoming? Do they feel comfortable? How do the students treat newcomers at the school? Interview Howard and report his observations.


Ask students to choose one of the characters and make a “Wanted” poster. Add to the poster this Bright Hub Education chart for “Suspect Description

Provide large sheets of light tagboard, string or yarn, crayons, markers or paint. Invite students to make “sandwich boards” advertizing a character from the book. Make the picture more creative by adding fabric or felt scraps, googly eyes, etc.

Guess the Character

Prepare four or five headbands each with the name of one of the characters from the book on the front. Ask for volunteers. Place a headband on each of the volunteers' heads without letting them see the name on the front. Then they should take turns asking questions to find out which character they have on their headband.

Share and Compare

After working their way through the work stations, students should be invited to share their findings with the class. Discuss and compare their findings with the original chart list.

These lesson plan ideas on The Kid in the Red Jacket could easily be modified to use with other books as well.


Red jacket picture: https://mrg.bz/k3gv8B, Sandwich board: Art Explosion 125,000 Images. Nova. free clip art

Author’s own classroom experiences