Analyzing Characters Through Names:  A Characterization Mini-lesson
This listing is for a characterization activity entitled "What's in a name?" in which students analyze how a character's name reveals character traits.

This mini-lesson is part of the Mega Characterization Bundle of over 15 characterization mini-lessons that get your students working with all literary devices and techniques. You can find it listed separately in our store.

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For this mini-lesson:

To research the meaning of a character’s name and analyze how the meaning of names helps to create characterization

To develop criteria for analyzing character
To assess comprehension of character development across a text
To select appropriate academic vocabulary for literary analysis
To support analysis with textual evidence
To conduct research from multiple sources and use that research to support analysis

Common Core Standards
R1, 3, 6, 11/ W1, 2, 4, 7, 9-11/ SL 1, 4, 6/ L1-3

Many modern literary critics argue that researching a character’s name in a piece of literature is a necessary part of conducting character analysis. In this activity, students will research the meaning behind a character’s name from a piece of literature. Students can either select the character, or you can assign each individual student or student groups to a particular character. Students will then visit several websites to conduct research on the meaning behind the name and compile their findings onto the Research Activity Sheet.

After students have conducted the name research, there are three optional follow-up activities that involve discussion (“What’s in a name?” Pair Discussion), exploration (“What in a name?” Chart), and writing (“What’s in a name?” Analytical Paragraph)—all are attached below. These optional activities will allow students to compare/ contrast their findings from their name research and discuss how this research informs character analysis.
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  • What's-in-a-name-Characterization-Activity-be-Bespoke-ELA.pdf

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Created: Jul 28, 2016

Updated: Feb 22, 2018


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