Understanding Characters' Feelings


  • To comprehend and respond to books read aloud
  • To talk about book characters' behaviors and feelings
  • To recall and retell parts of a selection
  • To build vocabulary

Poster paper, markers, old magazines, scissors, glue; children's book about feelings

Literature Suggestion
Read The Quilt Story by Tony Johnston, or another story with a main character who expresses strong feelings.

characters     feel
happy sad
surprised grumpy
angry excited

Name a few feelings (happy, sad, grumpy, angry, excited) and ask children to make faces that reflect those feelings.


  • As you read the story, help children focus on what emotions the character is feeling.
  • As children look at the illustrations, ask them to describe how the character might be feeling. Ask what happened in the story to make the character feel that way.
Make a "Feelings" poster. First, help children make a list of words to describe feelings. Ask questions such as: How do you feel when you get a present? Go on a trip? Miss a friend? Can't have what you want? (Examples: happy, excited, sad, angry, scared, surprised) Write the feeling words on poster paper. Look through magazines for pictures that show the different feelings. Cut them out and add them to your poster.

Observation Assessment

  • Proficient - Child listens attentively to the story and is able to tell what a character is feeling, and why.
  • In Process - Child listens fairly attentively to the story and shows understanding by actions, such as laughing or pointing, but needs prompting to tell the difference between characters' feelings, such as happy and sad.
  • Not Yet Ready - Child is distracted, cannot follow story events, or cannot yet identify different feelings.

Excerpted from School Readiness Activity Cards. The Preschool Activity Cards provide engaging and purposeful experiences that develop language, literacy, and math skills for preschool children.

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