Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White is a wonderful book to study in the classroom. The following ideas for Charlotte’s Web activities will enhance any book study and make learning fun!
First, let’s look at the reasons to teach novel studies:
- Student exposure to plot structure and new vocabulary, which has an enormous impact on their own language development and writing skills
- Novel studies also allow students to experience things they wouldn’t have done otherwise
- They help students to see events from others’ point of view
- They allow students to develop understanding and skills to make sense of different situations
- And, of course, for enjoyment and to promote their love of reading
The story of Charlotte’s Web, in which a spider tries to save the life of a young pig on a farm, covers many important themes including friendship, determination, teamwork and growing up.
Some key Charlotte’s Web activities that I like to use during the novel study include:
Character studies are a key element of a novel study. It is through the characters that the reader experiences the events of the story. Ask students to complete character profiles on the key characters including details on personality, relationships with others and how they change and develop as the story progresses. In addition, character comparisons are a great way to get students thinking about how different characters react to situations in the story.
Have student use their senses to describe settings within a novel. Ask students to imagine they are on the farm in Charlotte’s Web and to describe what they see, smell and hear. Charlotte’s Web is great for evoking these senses. This a key opportunity to develop descriptive vocabulary, so have students work in talk partners to describe the setting verbally before beginning their writing.
Reading Strategy Activities
During the novel study, it is important to develop those key reading strategies. Get students to think about and make connections between the novel and themselves. the world and also other novels. Thinking about cause and effect of key events is also important during the novel study. Also have students summarize the key events in the chapters within the novel.
This is where the students can really show their creativity and become fully immersed in the novel and really empathise with the characters. Some great writing tasks based on Charlotte’s Web include letter writing to key characters, writing instructions on how to make a spider web, exploring dilemmas (should Wilbur continue with his escape or should he return to the barn?), describing how the characters show they are a good friend and writing a newspaper report on the writing in the web.
In Charlotte’s Web, Wilbur learns many new words from Charlotte. This is a key opportunity for students to find out the definitions of new words they may not have come across before. This includes developing dictionary skills. Ask students to think about the words Charlotte has written in her web and why she has chosen those words to describe Wilbur.
Cross Curricular Charlotte’s Web Activities
A novel study is great opportunity to learn new facts about the subject of the book. In Charlotte’s web, some of my favorite cross curricular tasks include researching the spider life cycle, creating fact files on how to look after a pet and learning about farm animals.
The above are some of the activities that I incorporate into a novel study of Charlotte’s Web. If you’d like to try the activities mentioned, I have saved you the time and effort of creating them with this useful Charlotte’s Web Novel Study Unit.
The unit includes full teaching instructions and ideas for implementing the activities. Also included are activities on character, setting, vocabulary work, reading activities and summarizing.
The novel study also includes Charlotte’s Web activities by chapter. There are multiple choice comprehension quizzes on all chapters in the novel with answers included for you to assess your students’ understanding.
You can grab Charlotte’s Web Novel Study here!