Characterization Activities for any Novel Study

Spice up novel or short story studies with these fun character activities. Study characterization in a variety of ways.

Characterization activities? Here you go!

Analyzing characters could be my favorite part of literature exploration. Wondering what make a character tick, looking at foreshadowing in regards to his actions, guessing why he’s involved in certain conflicts—it all makes literature fun.

Unless you get students excited about characters, they won’t see the depth of the novel. Passion for characters is important; readers should root them on, or root against them. With any novel study, characterization activities will get students thinking and analyzing.

Modify or improve the following characterization activities for any novel!

Teaching characterization - indirect and direct - with secondary students? Try these free ideas for understanding characters in any novel or short story.

1. License plates. Which characters would have vanity plates? What would the plates say? Would a character have randomly assigned plates? Does a character have such bad luck that she would have goofy plates on accident? Is a character so absent minded that he would forget to apply for license plates?

2. Puppets. Create comical, cartoonish puppets of a few characters. If students particularly enjoy this, ask them to write a quick script and act out a scene.

3. Social media. Facebook pages, Instagram pics, Twitter feed. Ask students to create a social media profile for a character.

4. Write a resume. Look at what the character has accomplished. What personal skills would this character showcase on a resume? What education does this character have? (Would a certain character lie on a resume? What would he lie about?)

5. Create a wardrobe. This works well for artistic students who want to stretch their imaginations. Students could even create a Pinterest board for a character.

6. Design a house or bedroom. Mathematical- logical students? This is for you.

7. What car would the character drive? If a character is hard working, perhaps she has saved for a practical car. If a character is a ‘talker,’ maybe she talked the car dealer into a great deal.

8. Plan a couple’s prom night, wedding, or vacation. If Daisy and Gatsby went away for a vacation, where would he take her? Probably somewhere over the top – elaborate and expensive. Many young adult novels include romance. Which person in the couple would ask the other to prom? Would there be an elaborate way of asking?

9. Create a book-jacket for a character’s autobiography. An alternative would be to summarize the autobiography on Goodreads.

10. Write a food journal for the character. Coffee drinks? Favorite restaurant? Menu requests? If your character is picky, write a dialogue where he asks for food prepared a certain way.

11. Have characters interact in ways they don’t in the story. Write letters between two characters. Do they follow each other on social media? Who sends the friend request?

12. Write a journal entry for a character. When writing a journal entry, students should use the same tone and inflections that are natural to the character. Decide if the character would write, “dear diary” or simply start writing.

13. Create infographics. Students love infographics because they can sort the information. You can also ask them to draw conclusions about the information they compile.

14. Study a character from a new perspective. For instance, when I teach Julius Caesar, I will have students write an obituary for Caesar twice: once from Marc Antony’s perspective and once from Brutus’ perspective. Students learn about all three characters.

15. Dating profile. What would a dating profile look like for your character? Would they be shy and reserved? Would they brag?

When looking for characterization activities for any novel, think about what students will enjoy and learn the most from. Tweak the above ideas, or ask students to create their own novel activities.

Do you need printable, ready to go characterization activities for any novel or short story? I normally print off a variety and allow students to choose what will help them understand. 

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