School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 8

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

Indicator 3. Analyze and evaluate elements of narrative texts to facilitate understanding and interpretation

Objective f. Analyze the actions of characters that serve to advance the plot


The teacher should place the students in small groups to read a narrative text. Each group should be assigned a major character and as reading progresses students should record the actions of the assigned character. When reading is complete, the group of students should decide upon the single most important action of their assigned character based upon its effect on the plot of the story. Each group should present their findings to the class and justify their choice with text support.


Working with half the class while the remaining class members work independently on a related assignment, the teacher will organize a round table discussion that addresses character action and effect on plot. The teacher should begin by identifying the character and a single action. Have students use text support to discuss why they believe the character chose that action. Next students should discuss how that action affected the conclusion of the plot. Then students should provide alternate actions for the character that would fit the frame of the story. Finally students should discuss how an alternate action would change the conclusion of the story. Reverse the activities of the class and discuss that same character or another character and a single action.


After reading a narrative text, randomly distribute a slip of paper on which is written a character's name or a character's action to each student. Allow students time to walk about the room aligning themselves into groups which would feature a single character and his/her actions. Have each group order the character's actions from least to most important based upon that action's effect on the outcome of the plot. Using text support to justify decisions, each group should present its findings to the class.


After a first reading of a narrative text, students will be assigned a character from that text. First students should reread the text and record sequentially on a chart the most important actions of that character. After completing this first task, students should analyze each action to determine what type of effect it had on the outcome of the story. Students should share their decisions with a partner, small group, or whole class.

Character Name Actions Effect of Actions on Plot
Resources for Objective 3.A.3.f:
LESSON SEEDS | Sample Assessments |