When introducing character traits, making it relevant to students is the best way to get them interested and engaged.
Instead of introducing character traits by having students read other texts and identify traits of different characters, have students think about their own character traits.
There are several fun and easy ways to do this with your 2nd grade, 3rd grade, or 4th grade class.
Character Traits Mobile
Making this Character Traits Mobile is fun, low prep, and makes a great display before Parent-Teacher Conferences or Open House.
This freebie asks students to choose different character traits that describe themselves, and then defend their reason for choosing those character traits.
To prevent students from describing themselves with boring character traits like "nice" and "smart," I would usually display a Character Traits List that included a variety of interesting character traits.
After discussing some of the words that might be unfamiliar to students, the students would choose character traits from that list to include on their mobile.
It's amazing how honest students can be! I always expected them to only include positive character traits, but many students were aware of traits that they needed to work on and included words like "bossy," "lazy," and "messy" on their mobiles! Sometimes I would have these hanging in the classroom during Parent-Teacher conferences, and parents always got a kick out of reading how their children described themselves.
Character Trait Web
This one is extremely low prep, just requiring a piece of blank paper for each student and a Character Traits List to display to the class. Simply have students draw a picture of themselves in the center of the web and then list different character traits that describe themselves on lines that extend from the center of the web. There are a lot fun variations of this activity that I've found on Pinterest. For example, Mrs. Patton's Class used a real picture of themselves and described both their "inside" and "outside" character traits.
You might be interested in some of these other character trait ideas:
Character Traits Word Wall - Includes Free Template
36 Character Trait Higher Order Thinking Questions
Easy Ways to Integrate Writing When Teaching Character Traits