Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Character Comparison

Terri Griffin


This lesson allows students to practice comparing characters from two stories, focusing on actions, motives, emotions, and traits. The Venn diagram is used to display the similarities and differences.


The student knows the similarities and differences of characters presented within and across fifth grade or higher level selections.


- Copy of Character comparison checklist and blank Venn diagram for each student
- Two transparencies of the Venn diagram
- Overhead projector and pen
- [Mufara's Beautiful Daughter: An African Tale]. by John Steptoe, 1987, Lothrop Lee & Shepard, New York.
- [The Talking Eggs; A Folktale from the American South] by Robert San Souci, 1989, Dial Books for Young Readers, New York.


1. Obtain copies of the two books listed in the materials section.
2. Make copies of the Venn diagram and Character comparison checklist for each student.
3. Make 2 transparencies of Venn diagram and set up overhead projector.


1. This lesson correlates to these standards:
*Identifies characters’ actions, motives, emotions, traits, and feelings
*Draws conclusions, makes predictions, compares / contrast, and makes generalizations

2. Ask students to brainstorm a list of ways they could describe a character from a story and record the list on the board. Make sure the list contains actions, motives, emotions, and traits.

3. Take a few minutes to review the vocabulary (actions, motives, emotions, and traits) and give examples of each.
4. Explain to the students they will learn to compare, (show similarities and differences), two characters from different stories and record the information on a Venn diagram.

5. Introduce students to the Venn diagram on the transparency and label the areas for similarities and differences.

6. Ask the students to choose two characters from recently read basal selections to compare. As a class, discuss their similarities and differences. Model how to record the information on the Venn diagram transparency. Remind them to focus on the characters’ actions, motives, emotions, and traits.

7. Introduce the two books, [Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters] and [The Talking Eggs]. Explain that they will be comparing the bad sister from each story in a Venn diagram. Remind them of the types of characteristics to look for.

8. Read both books.

9. Pass out the Venn diagrams and Character comparison checklists that will be used to assess their work. Go over the Character comparison checklist and check for understanding.

10. Allow students time to complete the Venn diagram. Monitor as they work. As students finish, check off their Character comparison checklists in pencil.

11. Instruct students to use their Character comparison checklists to go back and add to or correct their Venn diagrams.

12. As they finish correcting, collect the Venn diagrams and the checklists.

13. As a class, discuss the characters’ similarities and differences and record the information on a blank Venn diagram transparency. Students can mentally compare the class information and their individual information.


Monitor progress as the students fill in the Venn diagrams and use the completed Venn diagrams to formatively assess the students’ ability to:
1. know the similarities of two characters from different text.
2. know the differences of two characters from different text.
The attached file contains a checklist with the criteria to assess the similarities and differences and how well the students manage information.


Select alternate stories for activity.

Attached Files

A blank Venn diagram and the Character comparison checklist.     File Extension: pdf

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