David Copperfield Novel Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Increase student understanding of the book 'David Copperfield' by Charles Dickens with this lesson plan. It includes two video lessons, discussion questions, quizzes, and a culminating activity to provide a summary of the novel, an analysis of its characters, and work on the book's theme.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • summarize David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  • analyze characters in David Copperfield
  • identify theme in David Copperfield


2 hours for lesson plus time for culminating activity


  • Copies of the novel David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  • Index cards
  • Access to technology
  • Chart paper and markers
  • Copies of the quiz for the first and second lessons, one for each student

Key Vocabulary

  • Bildungsroman

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1

Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2

Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3

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.

Warm Up

NOTE: This lesson plan is for use after students have read David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.

  • In the novel David Copperfield, we watch the main character go through many changes and experiences to make him who he is. Remind students of this and ask them to write a journal entry explaining what experiences have contributed to their own growth and helped them be who they are.
  • When finished, divide students into small groups and have them share their entries.
  • Share the lesson David Copperfield: Character Analysis & Overview with students, asking them to record character names and descriptions, theme, and a basic plot summary.
  • Have students return to their groups and discuss their notes, adding to one another's thoughts and ideas as a group.

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