Create Trading Cards for Favorite Characters
You’ve got your book club going, and everyone is having a great time reading their favorite books. But when you all get together suddenly no one has anything to say! Jump-start the conversation by having children in the group use an online tool to make trading cards about their favorite characters.
20 to 30 minutes per character
What You Need
Why This Is Helpful
Part of becoming a strong reader is learning to think carefully about what one reads. The online Character Trading Cards tool uses a fun and familiar format that looks like a sport or action figure trading card to have children think critically about a book. By asking questions that help children look not only at what a character does, but why and how these actions affect the story, the tool helps children gain a deeper understanding of the book. It also is a chance for children to think and write about their opinions and feelings about the story.
Heres What To Do
Before beginning this activity, visit the online Character Trading Cards tool and sample card so you can see how it works. You may want to print the planning sheet so that you have a list of all of the questions that are on the card.
||Begin the conversation by asking the child what he or she thinks of the book you are discussing and to write down three favorite things about the story. Talk about them together, asking which characters caused or were affected by these three things that you listed.
||Transition to further discussion about the characters in the book. Explain that one of the reasons we like a book or a story is because of the characters in it. Sometimes we want to keep reading to find out what happens to a character. Other times we think a character is funny or interesting or reminds us of someone we know, even ourselves.
||Help the child pick a favorite character in the book. Questions you might ask include:
- Is this character interesting to you? Why?
- Do you think you can write a good description of this character? What will you include?
- Does this character do and say things that others will find interesting?
||Once you have chosen a character, you can either use the planning sheet to look at the questions that will appear on the card or go directly to the online Character Trading Cards tool and start filling it in. Encourage the child to type in the answers to the questions and offer help if needed. Help the child think critically by asking him or her to explain each response and why it was given.
||Print the completed card. Cut the two pieces out, and tape them together to make a two-sided card. You may want to use cardstock or heavier paper.
||Have the child draw a picture of the character in the space at the top of the card.
Use these cards at a book club meeting in various ways, such as:
- Place cards in a hat or bowl. Each child can pick one, read it aloud, and guess who wrote it.
- Have children get into smaller groups with others who chose the same character to discuss. Have them compare their responses to the questions and also discuss the reasons why they responded how they did.
- Have each child share one section from his or her card with others in the group—Section 5: My Impressions works especially well for this activity.
- Before the meeting, have the child use the online Crossword Puzzles tool to create a puzzle about the character. He or she can print the puzzle and share it and the trading card with the group members; the card will offer hints that can be used to help solve the puzzle.
Visit the ReadWriteThink Tips for Using Character Trading Cards for more information about this tool.
To think both logically and creatively about a topic using different kinds of information. When people think critically, they not only attend to new words and ideas, but they also connect these words and ideas with the things they already know.
This activity was modified from the ReadWriteThink lesson plan “Sharing Favorite Books Using Interactive Character Trading Cards” available online at: www.readwritethink.org/lessons/lesson_view.asp?id=959.
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