Cover for blog post Charles Dickens FREE Unit Study showing books and printable pages.

Charles Dickens Unit Study

While we don’t usually think of Charles Dickens as  a children’s author, his short stories and the movie versions of his books can be a great introduction to his wonderful writing. He was famous during his lifetime and is now considered by some to be the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His books are filled with imagery and descriptive language and often focus on the difficult lives of the poor.

This Charles Dickens Unit Study allows elementary age children to learn about Charles Dickens and can be used by itself or paired with the reading of one of his books or short stories.  It is based on Magic Tree House A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time and Who Was Charles Dickens?

Grab the books, sign-up to receive the FREE printable Charles Dickens Unit Study and then explore the other resources below!  And if you like this unit study, check out our 30+ other FREE Unit Studies here.

Pinnable cover for the post Charles Dickens FREE Unit Study showing two books and printable pages.

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The Books about Charles Dickens

The Charles Dickens unit study is based upon Magic Tree House A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time and Who Was Charles Dickens? 

The Magic Tree House book sends Jack and Annie to London in 1843 as Charles Dickens is trying to write his famous A Christmas Carol.  He is struggling with the story and so Jack and Annie help him out.

Who Was Charles Dickens? tells about Dickens’ childhood challenges, many of the books he wrote, his family life and even his performances in theatres later in life.

A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time (Magic Tree House (R) Merlin Mission)
  • 2012 EDITION

Who Was Charles Dickens?
  • Pollack, Pam (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 12/26/2014 (Publication Date) - Penguin Workshop (Publisher)

The Charles Dickens Unit Study

The printable Charles Dickens Unit Study includes the following:

Notebooking pages about Mr. Dickens’ life.

A timeline activity to chart his life and work.

Writing prompt: Write a Diary Entry

Scrambled Words

Printable pages for taking notes about Charles Dickens, completing a timeline and a writing prompt.

A math activity about British money.

A Venn diagram to compare two characters in any of Dickens’ books.

A Following Directions in London activity.

Printables to learn about British money and a Venn diagram.

Download the Printable Pages

Subscribe to receive the printable pages of the Charles Dickens Unit Study along with access to 33 other unit studies.

Videos for the Charles Dickens Unit Study

Charles Dickens was known to walk the streets of London for hours at a time.  Here is a little view into where he walked:

Best Dickens Stories for Children

Dickens’ use of imagery and descriptive language along with his complex plots can make his writing hard for children to enjoy.  Here are the best stories and books for introducing your children to him.

The Magic Fishbone is the one book that Dickens wrote specifically for children.  It has 40 pages and is meant for children ages 6-10.  It contains a king, a princess, and a fairy, but addresses ‘money problems’ as so many of Dickens’ books do.

The Magic Fishbone
  • Hardcover Book
  • Dickens, Charles (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 40 Pages - 11/15/2017 (Publication Date) - Dover Publications (Publisher)

A Christmas Carol is a Christmas classic and makes for a wonderful read aloud for children (and adults) of all ages at Christmas.  To make this book even more enjoyable for your children, download the FREE unit study I created.

A Christmas Carol
  • Dickens, Charles (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 64 Pages - 12/21/2020 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

Stepping Stones: Oliver Twist is an adaptation of the original story meant for ages 6-9. (96 pages)

Oliver Twist (A Stepping Stone Book Classic)
  • Charles Dickens (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 96 Pages - 08/18/1990 (Publication Date) - Random House Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

Classic Starts: Great Expectations is another adaptation of one of Dickens’ books meant for ages 7-9. (160 pages)

Classic Starts®: Great Expectations
  • Hardcover Book
  • Dickens, Charles (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 02/02/2010 (Publication Date) - Union Square Kids (Publisher)

Usborne Illustrated Stories from Dickens contains adaptations of five of Dickens’ novels.  It contains beautiful illustrations and is 352 pages long.

Illustrated Dickens
  • Hardcover Book
  • Dickens, Charles (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 05/19/2024 (Publication Date) - Usborne Publishing Ltd (Publisher)

Put on a Play

After reading one of Dickens’ books, act out a few scenes from the book!  Assigning and developing characters, learning lines and blocking movements are a great way for children to comprehend a story better.

Watch Movies Based Upon Dickens’ Stories

Several of Dickens’ stories have been made into movies, but not all are appropriate for children.  Here are the best ones for children.

Oliver! (1968) is the best Dickens’ movie for children as it is appropriate for ages 8 and up and is a musical about the orphan, Oliver.

  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Mark Lester, Ron Moody, Shani Wallis (Actors)
  • Carol Reed (Director) - Vernon Harris (Writer) - John Woolf (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

A Christmas Carol (1951) There are several versions of this movie, but the most highly rated is the 1951 version starring Alastair Sim. It is appropriate for ages 8 and up.  (For a list of other versions, check out the A Christmas Carol FREE Unit Study.)

A Christmas Carol: Ultimate 2 Dvd Collector's Edition
  • Alastair Sim, Jack Warner, Kathleen Harrison (Actors)
  • Charles Dickens (Writer)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Great Expectations (2013) is listed for ages 10 and up on Common Sense Media.  The 1998 version is definitely NOT child friendly.

Great Expectations (2013)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes (Actors)
  • Mike Newell (Director) - Alexis Bishop (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Other Resources For Your Charles Dickens Unit Study

“Visit” the Charles Dickens Museum


Pinnable cover to A Christmas Carol FREE Unit Study showing book, vocabulary cards, and printable notebooking pages.

Rags and Riches: Kids in the Time of Charles Dickens (Magic Tree House)
  • Osborne, Mary Pope (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 128 Pages - 09/14/2010 (Publication Date) - Random House Books for Young Readers (Publisher)


Have you studied Dickens in your homeschool?  Share below!