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Character, Setting, and Plot

1 Teach / Model

To introduce the story elements, display this chart: Story Elements Setting = Time + Place Character = Traits (what the character is like) + Motives (why the character acts a certain way) Plot = Events + What the character does to solve a problem or reach a goal Point to each part of the chart as it's discussed. Say: Whenever I read fiction, I think about the setting, characters, and plot. Model how to identify story elements: To find setting, I ask: Where are the characters? When did this story happen? To learn about the characters, I pay attention to what they say and do. To understand the plot, I ask: Do the characters have a problem? What do they need to do to solve it? How does the story end?

Character, Setting, and Plot · The setting is the time and place of a story. · A character in a story often has a goal or a problem to solve. · The plot is what happens.

2 Practice

Use the Multi-Level Strategies to tailor the practice to students' proficiency levels:

BEGINNING Retell a story students are familiar with such as Pecos Bill, Cinderella, or The Ant and the Grasshopper. Then ask students yes/no questions and questions with embedded answers about the setting, characters, and plot. For example: Is the setting in a field during the day? Is (name of character) lazy or a hard worker? Did the character have trouble because he didn't listen or because of another trait? INTERMEDIATE ADVANCED

Pair Intermediate and Advanced students and have them reread or discuss a familiar story. Have them create and use a chart like that shown above to record notes about the setting, main character's traits and motives, and key events in the plot.


© Hampton-Brown

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Character, Setting, and Plot

3 Apply

Have students apply the skill in one of the following books:

The Magic Nesting Doll

Have students reread pages 4­7. Tell the students who have not read the book to read the summary on the back cover so that they know what the book is about. Ask: What is the setting of the story? (in a forest long ago) What is the problem in the story? (the Tsarevitch cast a wicked spell on the prince) What is Katya's goal? (to break the spell) What character traits best describe Katya? (She is brave, kind, and determined.)

Knights of the Round Table

Have students read and discuss Chapter 2, Lancelot and the Round Table, with a partner. Have them record notes about the setting, main character's traits and motives, and key events in the plot. (Setting: Camelot; Character: Lancelot is brave and honorable. He wants to earn his place at the Round Table; Plot: The Round Table is formed, Sir Lancelot proves himself as the bravest knight.)


Have students use their own words to define setting, characters, and plot. (The setting is the time and place of a story. The characters are people or animals who try to reach a goal or solve a problem. The plot tells what the characters do.)


© Hampton-Brown

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