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Character Education Read Alouds

Main Core Tie

English Language Arts Kindergarten
Reading: Literature Standard 9

Additional Core Ties

English Language Arts Kindergarten
Reading: Literature Standard 1

English Language Arts Kindergarten
Reading: Literature Standard 3


Utah LessonPlans
Grace Wayman


Sharing quality literature provides the teacher with great opportunities for the class to discuss the interactions and feelings of people. It also allows the students to make connections based on their own feelings and experiences.


One per group:

One per student:

  • Small Feelings chart
  • Pencil

Additional Resources


  • Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, by Patty Lovell; ISBN 0439434521
  • Building Moral Intelligence, by Michele Borba, Ed. D.; ISBN 078796226
  • Odd Velvet, by Mary E. Whitcomb; ISBN 0811820041
  • Enemy Pie, by Derek Munson; ISBN 081182778
  • Hip, Hip Hooray for Annie McRae, by Brad Wilcox; ISBN 158685058
  • Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes; ISBN 0440848121
  • Hooray for Wodney Wat, by Helen Lester; ISBN 0439200873
  • Lady Lollipop, by Dick King-Smith; ISBN 0763621811


  • Prevention Dimensions Utah, Steve James music CDs: Something Good, Take A Stand, Be A Builder

Background for Teachers

The enduring understanding for Standard II is for students to be able to discuss "What is the relationship?" Therefore, students need to know what the word relationship means. Relationship can be defined as a connection between ideas and/or people. Perhaps the best way to help our young students see the relationships between people and their feelings and ideas, is to begin by developing empathy for one another. Empathy is the ability to identify with, and feel another person's concerns. The six basic emotions include happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust. Students need to learn to respectfully listen to one another in order to identify how another person is feeling. Students may need to adjust their behavior to help a peer that may be in need of some extra care at the time. Rich conversation and good role models, provided by the teacher, can give students the chance to learn how to positively interact with friends and family. Sharing quality literature provides the teacher with great opportunities for the class to discuss the interactions and feelings of people. It also allows the students to make connections based on their own feelings and experiences.

Intended Learning Outcomes

2. Develop social skills and ethical responsibility.
3. Demonstrate responsible emotional and cognitive behaviors.

Instructional Procedures

Invitation to Learn
Tell the students that you are going to read a story to them about a girl who gets teased. Her name is Molly Lou. Ask the students to think in their mind the answer to the following three questions.

  1. Have you ever had a time when someone was not nice to you?
  2. How did that make you feel?
  3. What did you do to solve the problem?

Discuss each question with the class. Ask the students, “As we read the story together listen to find out how Molly Lou solves her problem. Let’s see if our ideas are the same or different from the character in the story.”

Instructional Procedures

  1. Read the story to the class. You may wish to pause at appropriate places as you are reading to discuss the three questions used to introduce the story.
  2. Have the students sit in pairs to discuss the questions asked below in #5.
  3. Show the students the Kindergarten Good Listener charts.
  4. Review what good listeners do.
    • Good listeners sit straight across from each other.
    • They look at each other.
    • One person is quiet while the other person talks.
    • They also keep their hands to themselves.

    Now students are ready to listen to the teacher ask each question.

  5. Students should take turns listening to each others’ responses to the questions.
    • Who is the main character in the story?
    • What was the problem the character had to solve?
    • How did the character feel about the problem?
    • What were your feelings as you were reading this story?
  6. As an entire class, record some of the responses to the questions on the class Feelings chart.
  7. Repeat this process for another character in the story.
  8. Compare the actions and feelings of the characters in the story.
  9. Ask the question, “What is the relationship between these characters and why?” Remember, discussing this question will help students develop an understanding of the “big idea” in Standard II. This type of lesson should be repeated often with a variety of literature that explores how people get along with each other.


Character Study
Another way to look at the relationship of characters in a story is to use a Character Study Guide (pdf). Follow the same procedure as described previously. Use the following guide words to discuss the actions of the characters: 1. Who? 2. Did what? 3. When? 4. Where? 5. Why? Once again, ask the question, "What is the relationship between the characters and why?"

What Is The Connection?
After reading a story to your class, encourage them to make their own personal connection to the story. Teachers may use a What is the Connection? (pdf) schema guide to record student responses. Students may identify a text to self, text to text, or text to world connection. The teacher, or the student, may write and draw the response on a Post-It® note and place it on the corresponding space of the class chart.

Emotions Cards (pdf)

  1. Assemble a variety of pictures from magazines or computer programs that depict different emotions. The six basic emotions include happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust.
  2. Glue the pictures to heavier index or cardstock paper. Leave some space on the heavier paper so you can write a variety of words to describe the emotion shown on the card. Laminate the pictures.
  3. Show the class one picture at a time. Ask them to tell you words that describe the emotion they see.
  4. Using a Vis-à-Vis® pen, write the words on the laminated card.
  5. Show the emotion cards again, and again, at different times.
  6. Write more vocabulary words to the card to describe the emotion. For example, the picture showing anger may have the words mad, upset, and furious written on the card.
  7. These cards may be placed in the front of the classroom for students to refer to as they work on the Feelings chart.

Family Connections

  • One night a week, while eating dinner together as a family, discuss some of the feelings each family member experienced during the week. You may begin by saying, "What was the happiest moment you had this week?" Allow each family member to take a turn sharing his/her experience. This activity allows children to have conversations with their family, share their feelings and be acknowledged, as well as listen and show concern for others.
  • Look for occasions to draw attention to people's feelings and then ask your child to guess what the person might need in order to feel better. For example, a parent might say, "Look at that little boy sitting by himself near the playground. How do you think he feels?" The child may say, "He looks lonely." The parent then says, "What do you think he needs to make him feel better?" The child responds, "He needs a friend to play with him." This activity helps children become more aware of other people's needs and ways we can help them.
  • Read any children's literature selection to your child. Read the same short passage each time, give your voice a different emotional tone (happy, angry, scared, surprised) and ask your child to guess what feeling you are trying to convey. This activity helps children recognize that our voices tell a lot about our mood.

These activities and many others can be found in Building Moral Intelligence by Michele Borba, Ed. D.; ISBN 2381239194.

Assessment Plan

After reading a variety of stories in which the children share responses to the character’s actions and feelings the following kind of assessment may be given. Tell the students you are going to read a story about a character who has a problem. Tell them at the end of the story they will be asked to draw and write their ideas about the story on a Feelings chart of their own. A teacher or volunteer helper could be a scribe for the student if the writing portion is too difficult for them. This assessment could be given at different times throughout the year to determine comprehension in this area.

However, the ultimate way to show proficiency in Standard II, Objective I is by having students demonstrate positive care and concern for each other in their daily experiences together. For example, do they share? Do they listen respectfully to each other? Do they take turns?, etc.

Created: 09/08/2004
Updated: 02/05/2018