Activity Overview

As students read, a storyboard can serve as a helpful character reference log. This log (also called a character map) allows students to recall relevant information about important characters. When reading a novel, small attributes and details frequently become important as the plot progresses. With character mapping, students will record this information, helping them follow along and catch the subtleties which make reading more enjoyable!

Teachers may wish for students to collaborate on this activity which is possible with Storyboard That's Real Time Collaboration feature! This can help cut down on the time it takes to complete the entire storyboard while also helping students to develop communication, self-management and leadership skills. Teachers can enable collaboration for the assignment and students can either choose their partner(s) or have one chosen for them. It is suggested that since the Character Map Storyboard is 16 cells, it is best if completed by students in groups of 2, 4 or 8.

It’s a great idea to create a copy of this generic character map and edit it with the specific questions about characters you want your students to answer.

Major Holes Characters

Story of Stanley Yelnats IV

StanleyProtagonist, heavy, has few friends
Clyde LivingstonOwner of shoes that were stolen
Derrick DunneBully that picks on Stanley at school
ZeroHector Zeroni, smallest of camp members, digs holes fastest
X-RayLeader of boys, black, wears glasses
ArmpitBefriends Stanley, named for his smell
Magnet Named for his ability to steal anything<
ZigZagBoy at Camp Green Lake
SquidBoy at Camp Green Lake
WardenFemale descendant of the Walker family, ruthless and cruel
Mr. SirCamp counselor
Mr. PendanskiCounselor at Camp Green Lake. The kids, call him "Doctor", but he is not a doctor

Story of Stanley Yelnats I

Stanley IStanley's great-grandfather, robbed by Kissing Kate
Kissing Kate BarlowFormer school teacher turned outlaw
SamBlack, onion seller, medicine man
Charles WalkerSon of a rich landowner on Green Lake

Story of Elya Yelnats

Elya YelnatsStanley's great-great grandfather
Madame ZeroniRomani woman who curses the Yelnats family

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a character map for the major characters.

  1. Identify the major characters in Holes and type their names into the different title boxes.
  2. Choose a character to represent each of the story characters.
    • Select colors and a pose appropriate to story and character traits.
  3. Choose a scene or background that makes sense for the character.
  4. Fill in the Textables to answer the questions or prompts.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/4/7] Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/5/1] Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/5/3] Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Character Map Template
Create a character map of the characters in the story. Put the character's name in the title boxes and choose a character and scene to represent each one. As you read, take notes on the characters by answering the questions.
33 Points
25 Points
17 Points
Character Picture & Scene
The characters and scenes are both appropriate for the book's characters.
Many of the characters and scenes match the book's characters.
More than half of the characters and scenes do not match the characters in the book.
Accuracy of Notes
Most of the information of the notes is correct.
Many of the notes have correct information, but some are incorrect or missing.
Less than half of the information of the notes is correct and relevant.
Work is complete, thorough, and neat.
Most of the sections of the character map were at least attempted and work is presentable.
Character map is unfinished and/or disorganized.

How to Deal With a Huge List of Characters in a Book


Use a Character Map

Use a character map to help students keep track of a lot of characters. Explaining the importance of the character on the map, or a quote that is important, is going to help the students keep track of many people.


Use a Mnemonic Device

Often, students will use a mnemonic device when trying to keep characters straight in a story. Thinking of a fun word that starts with the same letter as the character and making a silly sentence can definitely help students keep track of who is who.


Draw It Out

Drawing a picture of the character, or a symbol that represents the character, is a great way to get a long list of characters situated. By using the sense of touch, you will be able to more easily differentiate between the characters.

Frequently Asked Questions about Keeping Characters Straight in Holes

Who is the protagonist in Holes?

Stanley Yelnats IV is the protagonist in Holes. This means that he moves the story along. He is heavy set, has few friends, and got in trouble and sent to a boys' detention camp.

How can I keep so many characters straight?

With a large list of characters, it is a good idea to take notes on them as you read, or to use mnemonic devices to help you remember them. Drawing a picture can also help.

How can I determine the importance of a character?

Characters are more important when they appear more in the story, and are more closely related to the main character. In Holes, there are three different story lines to keep track of, and the characters vary in importance.

This Activity is Part of Many Teacher Guides

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