For students to really understand fiction, they need to have a strong understanding of the characters. The characters' traits drive the conflicts and themes of the story! In our shared reading of Frindle, my students and I spent a lot of time writing about characters.
We started with a simple purpose for marking with post-its: Find evidence about Nick Allen's character. You can use his words, actions, or things other characters say about him. As we read, we marked placed we noticed his character becoming clear with post-its and wrote a short reaction on each post-it.
After we read, I had students gather their post-its and stick them into their reader's notebook under, "Evidence about Nick Allen."
Then we brainstormed words that could describe his personality.
Here is one of my students' brief responses to this chapter. On the bottom of the page, you can see that we connected this shared reading lesson to independent reading. The students had the same purpose for reading as we introduced during our whole-group reading lesson: Gather evidence about your character to describe him or her. Predict future events based on what you know about the characters. This student wrote about Diary of a Wimpy Kid, his independent reading selection.
And this student wrote about her character, Stuart Little.