Character Subject English

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Academic Vocabulary Six-Step Process

Step 1 – Develop a student-friendly explanation/description of the academic vocabulary term with multiple examples, both visual and verbal.
Academic Vocabulary Term __character_____________________________________________

Subject _English_______________________ Grade __Ninth_______________

Dictionary/glossary definition

The combination of qualities or features that distinguishes one person, group or thing from another; a description of a person’s attributes, traits, or abilities; a person portrayed in an artistic piece, such as a drama or novel; moral or ethical strength; a distinguishing feature or attribute, as of an individual, group, or category; a notable or well-know person or personage; a person, especially one who is peculiar or eccentric
Wikipedia – any person, persona, identity or entity who exists in a work of art; the process of conveying information about characters in fiction is called characterization; characters may be entirely fictional or based on real, historical entities; characters may be human, supernatural, mythical, divine, animal or personifications of an abstraction


quality, attribute, trait, personality; imaginary being, imaginary creature, persona, role, part, portrayal, personification; reputation; eccentric, type, case, nature, make-up, bent, temper, temperament, disposition, card, original, nut, flake, oddball, wacko


boring person, unnoticeable person, having unethical or immoral tendencies

Real life associations

*a funny, odd or unusual family member

*a respected person, such as a priest; firefighters, policemen, doctors, etc.

*Yogi Berra commercial about AFLAC

Movie/TV/Music/Literary associations:

*Bart Simpson

*Little Red Riding Hood; Wolf; Grandmother; Hunter

*Okie from Muskogee


Education, more than nature, is the cause of that great difference which we see in the characters of men.” –Lord Chesterfield in a letter to his son, 1749

Character is what you do when nobody is looking.” –Henry Huffman, 1995

Character is the pivot on which everything turns.” – Anonymous


*picture of professions--priest, lawyer, doctor, scientist, teacher, etc.

*picture of Bart Simpson, other TV characters

*picture of characters from a Little Red Riding Hood

Student-friendly description/explanation:

The word character has several meanings or shades of meanings. The three that I want to share with you are represented by these three sentences:

--Sam has character.

--Sam is a character.

--Sam is the main character.

In the first sentence, the word character refers to the qualities, traits, or attributes of Sam’s personality. In particular, it says that this person is a “good” person because character implies honesty, dependability, responsibility, and other good things about his behavior and his strength of personality. A person with character is someone you want to be or someone you look up to or someone you respect. For example, there are some professions that we consider to be ones for people of good character – doctors, lawyers, firefighters, policemen, teachers, priests – even though we know sometimes that is not true.

The second sentence implies that the person is different, funny, peculiar in some mannerisms, habits, or ways of acting. In the song “Okie for Muscogee” what kind of character is Merle Haggard singing about? Here’s another example: do you have a relative, an aunt or uncle, cousin, grandparent, one that everyone says acts or talks differently than others. I have an aunt who always asks very personal questions in front of everybody and embarrasses people, like “did you take a bath today?” People who are “characters” stand out in our minds in some way. Their behavior is just a little different than others. For example, Yogi Berra, the baseball player, is known as a character because he is always saying things that are just a little peculiar. (Play commercial video)

The third sentence refers to someone in a story. For example, in the story Little Red Riding Hood, the characters are Little Red Riding Hood, the Grandmother, the Wolf, and the Hunter. A character in a story is someone who plays a particular part or role. In this story, Little Red Riding Hood is the little girl who is doing a chore for her mother. The wolf is someone bad who is trying to hurt her. The Grandmother is a family member that the little girl is helping. The hunter is someone who rescues the girl. Each of the characters has a certain job in the story. Some characters are people but characters can also be animals, like the wolf, or even other inanimate objects like the vegetables in Veggie Tales.


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