EL Support Lesson

Characters and Dialogue

Help your ELs identify the characters and their dialogue in a story. This lesson can stand alone or be used as a pre-lesson for the *Action! Students Create Reader’s Theater* lesson.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theAction! Students Create Reader's TheaterLesson plan.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theAction! Students Create Reader's TheaterLesson plan.

Students will be able to create a script by writing dialogue for a story's characters.


Students will be able to identify characters with nouns and associated pronouns using a graphic organizer and strategic partnerships.

(2 minutes)
Nouns and Associated PronounsIdentifying Characters and their DialogueGraphic Organizer Template: Frayer ModelWrite Student-Facing Language Objectives ReferenceTeach Background Knowledge TemplateVocabulary Cards: Characters and Dialogue
  • Ask students to share what they know about the word Character. Confirm or paraphrase student answers, as needed.
  • Share a student-friendly language objective by reading it aloud. Have learners repeat it. Explain that today's lesson will be about using clues in the text, in the form of nouns and pronouns, to help us figure out the characters and what they are saying.
(10 minutes)
  • Present an example Frayer Model for the word CharacterTo model the different sections of the graphic organizer.
  • Display the key terms for the lesson and provide student-friendly definitions. Have learners choose one word from the Tier 2 list on which to focus. Make sure that each word is chosen so that all Tier 2 words are represented in the class discussion.
  • Give each learner a Frayer Model worksheet. Instruct them to become a word expert on that particular term for today's lesson by using resources to gather information about the vocabulary word.
  • Have students share their graphic organizers with the group. Provide feedback and record the example sentences on the board to serve as a reference throughout the lesson.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the Nouns and Associated Pronouns worksheet to each student. Go over the teaching box at the top to review the definitions of key terms for this exercise. Have the class choral read the example sentence in the teaching box.
  • Go over the directions for the worksheet, and review the example sentence. Model completing #1 and #2 sentences on the worksheet by circling the subject and choosing the associated pronoun for the noun or noun phrase.
  • Put students into A-B partnerships, and have them complete the remainder of the worksheet together. Instruct Partner A to be the leader on all odd numbered questions, while Partner B is the leader on all even numbered questions.
  • Go over the worksheet as a group, calling on nonvolunteers to share answers. Have other learners rephrase and either agree or disagree with the answers given.
(10 minutes)
  • Give each student a copy of the Identifying Characters and their Dialogue worksheet and ask a volunteer to read the information box aloud.
  • Explain that the goal of this worksheet is to identify the characters and their Dialogue, or what they are saying. Share that we learn about the characters, setting, and events by paying close attention to what characters say.
  • Read aloud the passage and have students circle any unfamiliar words they would like to discuss. They should underline any vocabulary words they see from earlier in the lesson.
  • Engage students in identifying the main characters in the text. Point out that, while another character was mentioned (the birthday girl), she is not an actual character that is actively in the story right now. Ask students to pick out the three main characters and place them in the chart. Record the information in the teacher example.
  • Model identifying and highlighting dialogue in the text. Label the dialogue with the character's name. Think aloud about how you know which character said those words, and point out any pronouns that were useful in the process. Explain how to complete the chart with information from the text.
  • Have students work in partnerships to go back into the text and highlight the remaining dialogue for each character. Remind them to label the dialogue with the character's name, and then complete the chart.
  • Go over the chart, and record student answers on the teacher copy. Point out that there are a few things that were said by the same character, so answers may be different than what is shared.
  • Instruct students to complete the last question at the bottom of the worksheet. Give them time to think about what Melodie might say, and ask students to share out with partners and then the whole group. Point out that the dialogue in that format does not use quotation marks, but it still shows that the character said something.


  • Allow access to reference materials in home language (L1).
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary to the teacher.
  • Partner ELs with students that will offer support during discussions and group work.
  • Provide sentence stems and frames for class discussion. For example:
    • My vocabulary word means ____.
    • The subject is ____And an associated pronoun is _____.
    • The character named ____Said ____.
    • I think Melodie would say ____.
  • Ask ELs to verbally summarize information that was modeled before moving on to student practise.


  • Allow learners to utilize glossaries and dictionaries for unfamiliar words.
  • Choose advanced ELs to share their ideas first in group and class discussions.
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary, summarizing important information for the class.
(5 minutes)
  • Give each student another copy of a blank Frayer Model worksheet. Instruct them to complete the graphic organizer for the word Dialogue.
(3 minutes)
  • Have students share their Frayer Models in partnerships. Call on nonvolunteers to share a piece of information that both partners have in common on their graphic organizer. Create a teacher copy to display.
  • Remind learners that the characters' dialogue in a story is important to identify as we learn about the characters, setting, and events. Dialogue helps tell the story.

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