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Charlotte's Web

Last updated Thursday, March 25, 2021

Author: E.B. White
Date of Publication: 1952
ISBN: 0060263857
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Mar. 2006

Synopsis: One of the classics of children's literature, this widely read tale takes place on a farm in Maine and concerns a pig named Wilbur and his devoted friend Charlotte, the spider who manages to save his life by writing words in her web.

Note to readers:
•  Hear and see the first seven chapters of this book read aloud on YouTube by a group of our volunteers!

This is a chapter book that you won't be able to finish. Read Chapters 1-3 and Chapter 5. Skip Chapter 4. Other chapters that are fun to read are Chapters 7 and 11. Remind students that the book will be in their school library and they should finish reading it on their own.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  How do you feel about spiders? What do you know about them? How are they good or bad?
•  What do you know about farms? What kind of animals are there? What happens on a farm?
•  What does a pig look like? Has anyone seen a pig or felt a pig? Have you seen the movie, Babe? What happens to the pig?
•  Do you have a pet? How do you take care of it?
•  What does being a friend mean? What things do you do for a friend?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Chapter 1
•  Why does Fern save the piglet? What would have happened to him if she didn't save him?
•  What kinds of things to Fern and Wilbur do together?
•  Chapter 2
•  What does Fern do to take care of him?
•  Where is Wilbur going?
•  Chapter 3
•  Describe the barn in the story. Has anyone been in a barn?
•  How do Wilbur and Charlotte become friends?
•  Chapter 5
•  What does Wilbur think of Charlotte when he first meets her?
•  What will happen to Wilbur around Christmastime?

Craft ideas:
•  Weave your own messages or make a spider web on construction paper. Make a spider to attach to it. Bring ahead option: string
•  Make a spider out of paper plates or construction paper. Write 8 adjectives on the spider's legs that would describe you. Brainstorm as a group positive adjectives and then students can choose eight that apply to them.
•  Draw a barn with farm animals in it.

Special activities:
•  Sing "Old MacDonald Had a Farm"

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!