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Examine How Authors Develop Characters in their Stories

In this worksheet, students identify ways in which authors develop characters in their stories.

'Examine How Authors Develop Characters in their Stories' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   Reading: Comprehension

Curriculum subtopic:   Discuss Words and Phrases

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Writers use many different techniques when they are creating characters in their stories. Look at this extract from a story set in a school.

Mr Jacobs glared at Tom. His lips were pressed together and his fingers drummed on the desk.

'Come here, now!' he barked.

Tom stood up and walked slowly towards the front of the classroom, dragging his feet. He could feel his heart thumping in his chest and sweat starting to prickle on his palms.

He stood in front of Mr Jacobs, fixing his eyes on the teacher's shiny black shoes.

'Look at me, boy!' sneered Mr Jacobs.

Tom slowly glanced upwards until their eyes met. He gulped.

 

The author has told us a lot about the characters of Tom and Mr Jacobs in this short passage. In this activity you can look at the ways that authors develop characters in their stories.

How is Tom feeling in this passage? Remember that you can look back at it as often as you like by clicking the Help button.

excited

angry

frightened

How is Mr Jacobs feeling?

pleased

angry

tired

The author does not actually write 'Tom was frightened of Mr Jacobs' but makes it clear by the way that Tom reacts to his teacher. Read the passage again, concentrating on what Tom does.

 

Mr Jacobs glared at Tom. His lips were pressed together and his fingers drummed on the desk.

'Come here, now!' he barked.

Tom stood up and walked slowly towards the front of the classroom, dragging his feet. He could feel his heart thumping in his chest and sweat starting to prickle on his palms.

He stood in front of Mr Jacobs, fixing his eyes on the teacher's shiny black shoes.

'Look at me, boy!', sneered Mr Jacobs.

Tom slowly glanced upwards until their eyes met. He gulped.

 

Which of the words and phrases in the list show us Tom's fearTick three boxes.

stood up slowly

dragging his feet

heart thumping

stood in front

gulped

Tom is too frightened to look Mr Jacobs in the eye at first, but again this is not spelt out directly by the author. What does Tom do instead? Copy the sentence into the answer box.

 

Mr Jacobs glared at Tom. His lips were pressed together and his fingers drummed on the desk.

'Come here, now!' he barked.

Tom stood up and walked slowly towards the front of the classroom, dragging his feet. He could feel his heart thumping in his chest and sweat starting to prickle on his palms.

He stood in front of Mr Jacobs, fixing his eyes on the teacher's shiny black shoes.

'Look at me, boy!', sneered Mr Jacobs.

Tom slowly glanced upwards until their eyes met. He gulped.

It is also clear that Mr Jacobs is very angry, even though the author does not write 'Mr Jacobs was very angry'.

 

His anger is shown mainly through the choice of verbs. Read the passage again then tick the verbs used to describe Mr Jacobs' actions.

 

Mr Jacobs glared at Tom. His lips were pressed together and his fingers drummed on the desk.

'Come here, now!' he barked.

Tom stood up and walked slowly towards the front of the classroom, dragging his feet. He could feel his heart thumping in his chest and sweat starting to prickle on his palms.

He stood in front of Mr Jacobs, fixing his eyes on the teacher's shiny black shoes.

'Look at me, boy!', sneered Mr Jacobs.

Tom slowly glanced upwards until their eyes met. He gulped.

 

Tick five boxes.

glared

pressed

drummed

barked

stood

walked

sneered

glanced

gulped

The author does not just suggest that Mr Jacobs is angry, but that he is an unpleasant person as well. This is done through a careful choice of words.

 

What verb is used to complete the following sentence in the passage?

'Look at me, boy!', __________ Mr Jacobs.

 

Write it in the answer box.

Showing readers what characters are like through their words and actions is much more effective than simply stating what sort of person they are.

 

Look at this dialogue between two friends.

 

'Hurry up!', shouted Jemma, stamping her foot. 'I want to go now.'

'We've got loads of time,' said Kayla, who was crouched on the floor stroking the cat. 'What's the rush?'

'Oh do hurry up, please,' begged Rosie. 'We'll get into awful trouble if we're late.'

 

Which character would you say is an anxious sort of person? Write her name in the answer box. Remember to use capital letters for names.

Look at the dialogue again.

 

'Hurry up!', shouted Jemma, stamping her foot. 'I want to go now.'

'We've got loads of time,' said Kayla, who was crouched on the floor stroking the cat. 'What's the rush?'

'Oh do hurry up, please,' begged Rosie. 'We'll get into awful trouble if we're late.'

 

Jemma is clearly impatient. How does the author show this?

through her words

through her action

through both her words and actions

  • Question 1

How is Tom feeling in this passage? Remember that you can look back at it as often as you like by clicking the Help button.

CORRECT ANSWER
frightened
EDDIE SAYS
Tom is frightened of his teacher, Mr Jacobs.
  • Question 2

How is Mr Jacobs feeling?

CORRECT ANSWER
angry
EDDIE SAYS
Mr Jacobs is feeling very angry.
  • Question 3

The author does not actually write 'Tom was frightened of Mr Jacobs' but makes it clear by the way that Tom reacts to his teacher. Read the passage again, concentrating on what Tom does.

 

Mr Jacobs glared at Tom. His lips were pressed together and his fingers drummed on the desk.

'Come here, now!' he barked.

Tom stood up and walked slowly towards the front of the classroom, dragging his feet. He could feel his heart thumping in his chest and sweat starting to prickle on his palms.

He stood in front of Mr Jacobs, fixing his eyes on the teacher's shiny black shoes.

'Look at me, boy!', sneered Mr Jacobs.

Tom slowly glanced upwards until their eyes met. He gulped.

 

Which of the words and phrases in the list show us Tom's fearTick three boxes.

CORRECT ANSWER
stood up slowly
heart thumping
gulped
EDDIE SAYS
The description of Tom's walk to the front, makes it very clear that he is frightened.
  • Question 4

Tom is too frightened to look Mr Jacobs in the eye at first, but again this is not spelt out directly by the author. What does Tom do instead? Copy the sentence into the answer box.

 

Mr Jacobs glared at Tom. His lips were pressed together and his fingers drummed on the desk.

'Come here, now!' he barked.

Tom stood up and walked slowly towards the front of the classroom, dragging his feet. He could feel his heart thumping in his chest and sweat starting to prickle on his palms.

He stood in front of Mr Jacobs, fixing his eyes on the teacher's shiny black shoes.

'Look at me, boy!', sneered Mr Jacobs.

Tom slowly glanced upwards until their eyes met. He gulped.

CORRECT ANSWER
He stood in front of Mr Jacobs, fixing his eyes on the teacher's shiny black shoes.
EDDIE SAYS
Looking down at his teacher's shoes implies that Tom is too frightened to look Mr Jacobs straight in the eye.
  • Question 5

It is also clear that Mr Jacobs is very angry, even though the author does not write 'Mr Jacobs was very angry'.

 

His anger is shown mainly through the choice of verbs. Read the passage again then tick the verbs used to describe Mr Jacobs' actions.

 

Mr Jacobs glared at Tom. His lips were pressed together and his fingers drummed on the desk.

'Come here, now!' he barked.

Tom stood up and walked slowly towards the front of the classroom, dragging his feet. He could feel his heart thumping in his chest and sweat starting to prickle on his palms.

He stood in front of Mr Jacobs, fixing his eyes on the teacher's shiny black shoes.

'Look at me, boy!', sneered Mr Jacobs.

Tom slowly glanced upwards until their eyes met. He gulped.

 

Tick five boxes.

CORRECT ANSWER
glared
pressed
drummed
barked
sneered
EDDIE SAYS
The other verbs in the list describe Tom's feelings and actions, not Mr Jacobs'.
  • Question 6

The author does not just suggest that Mr Jacobs is angry, but that he is an unpleasant person as well. This is done through a careful choice of words.

 

What verb is used to complete the following sentence in the passage?

'Look at me, boy!', __________ Mr Jacobs.

 

Write it in the answer box.

CORRECT ANSWER
sneered
Sneered
EDDIE SAYS
The author could have used the verb 'shouted', which would also have shown that Mr Jacobs was angry, but by using the verb 'sneered' the reader learns that he is unpleasant as well as angry.
  • Question 7

Showing readers what characters are like through their words and actions is much more effective than simply stating what sort of person they are.

 

Look at this dialogue between two friends.

 

'Hurry up!', shouted Jemma, stamping her foot. 'I want to go now.'

'We've got loads of time,' said Kayla, who was crouched on the floor stroking the cat. 'What's the rush?'

'Oh do hurry up, please,' begged Rosie. 'We'll get into awful trouble if we're late.'

 

Which character would you say is an anxious sort of person? Write her name in the answer box. Remember to use capital letters for names.

CORRECT ANSWER
Rosie
EDDIE SAYS
Rosie is worried about getting into trouble for being late, which suggests that she is of an anxious nature. The verb 'begged' is also significant, as it shows that Rosie is desperate not to be late.
  • Question 8

Look at the dialogue again.

 

'Hurry up!', shouted Jemma, stamping her foot. 'I want to go now.'

'We've got loads of time,' said Kayla, who was crouched on the floor stroking the cat. 'What's the rush?'

'Oh do hurry up, please,' begged Rosie. 'We'll get into awful trouble if we're late.'

 

Jemma is clearly impatient. How does the author show this?

CORRECT ANSWER
through both her words and actions
EDDIE SAYS
Jemma stamps her foot and shouts, showing her impatience. Her words also suggest impatience.
---- OR ----

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