Charles Dickens Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Charles Dickens made an indelible mark in the world of literature. This lesson plan uses an engaging and informative video lesson to outline Dickens' life and work. An activity connects students with specific works.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • list key events in the life of Charles Dickens
  • outline the work and literary influence of Charles Dickens


  • 1 to 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards


Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.


Analyze how an author's choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.


Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature.


  • A worksheet created using the quiz from the associated video lesson
  • Photocopies of assorted excerpts from various Charles Dickens novels


  • Begin by writing the following character names on the board: 'Ebenezer Scrooge', 'Oliver Twist', 'Miss Havisham' and 'David Copperfield'.
    • Who has heard of one or more of these characters?
    • What do they have in common?
  • Play the video lesson Introduction to Charles Dickens: Works, Style, and Influence, pausing it at 4:47.
    • Did anyone correctly identify the characters as those featured in the work of Charles Dickens?
    • How did Charles Dickens early life experience equip him to become an author?
    • Has anyone read The Pickwick Papers?
    • How about Oliver Twist?
  • Play the rest of the video lesson for the class now.
    • How many of us are familiar with A Christmas Carol?
    • How did the personal events in Charles Dickens' later life impact his writing?
    • Could the fact that Dickens died at the height of his fame have changed his legacy?
    • What is satire?
    • Why might Dickens have been so interested in social commentary in his writing?
    • Do Dickens' works stand the test of time?
  • Pass out the worksheet and ask students to work independently to complete it.

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