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Public Education Educator Resources Character Traits

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to identify character traits and find portions of textual evidence to support them.


Grade Levels



Common Core Standard

Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.


Materials Needed

Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathman

Character Trait Graphic Organizer

Computer with internet access for teacher




  • Introduce the class to the concept of a character trait. Explain that a character trait describes the behavior or attitude of a person, and that a character trait could be used to describe anyone in the classroom.
  • Give an example: If someone has a character trait of being brave, he doesn’t give up when things are scary.
  • Provide a non-example to help students understand what character traits are not: Having green eyes is not a character trait since it only describes the way you look.
  • Character traits describe behavior and attitude.

Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling

  • Display the cover of “Office Buckle and Gloria” by Peggy Rathman.
  • Let the students know that today’s lesson will be focused on describing a character from the story named Gloria.
  • Begin reading the story aloud and pause halfway through.
  • Display the character trait graphic organizer.
  • As a class, fill out one of the sections of the chart using what you’ve learned about Gloria thus far. For example, you could say that she’s helpful, since she likes to help Officer Buckle teach kids about safety.

Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling

  • Read aloud the second half of the story.
  • Ask the class to think of another character trait to describe Gloria.
  • Select one of the students’ suggestions to add to the organizer.
  • Ask them to find textual evidence that shows Gloria displaying the trait.
  • Again, select one of their suggestions to add to the organizer.

Independent Working Time (15 minutes)

  • Distribute copies of the organizer to the class.
  • Give each student time to fill in the organizer with traits about Officer Buckle.
  • When students are finished, allow them to share the traits they came up with.
  • Read the students the article “The Mighty Midge” from AKC Family Dog: Article
  • Discuss with students the character traits that Midge shows. Have them complete that section of the graphic organizer.

Review and Closing

  • Explain to the students that Gloria and Midge are both dogs. Using the graphic organizer, how are Gloria and Midge similar? How are they different?
  • Ask some review questions, such as: What is an example of a character trait? What isn’t? Why do you think it’s important to be able to identify character traits in a story?


Bovsun, M. (2017, July). The Mighty Midge. AKC Family Dog, pages 1-3. Retrieved from

Rathman, P. (1995). Officer Buckle and Gloria. New York, NY: Penguin Books.