This Charlotte's Web teachers guide will help you teach Charlotte's Web to your elementary students with questions, Charlotte's Web activities, and links to other websites.
Everyone Loves Wilbur
Charolette's Web is a favorite book of many teachers and students in third and fourth grade. Everyone loves the main character, Wilbur, and hopes that they can find a friend as good as Charlotte in their own lives. Besides just a wonderful story by E. B. White, reading this novel can help students learn comprehension skills, discuss themes, and work on writing skills.
Questions for Charlotte's Web
These Charlotte's Web questions can be used while reading the book in literature circles or as a whole class novel. They will help students understand the novel and the characters. These questions will also direct students to take a closer look at the themes in the novel:
In the beginning:
Why do you think Fern wants to keep Wilbur so badly?
How does Wilbur get along with the other animals at the farm? Why does he have some problems?
Why is Charlotte befriending Wilbur?
Compare and contrast Charlotte and Fern in regards to their relationship with Wilbur.
In the middle:
Does Charlotte's idea to save Wilbur work? Why or why not?
Why is Templeton the rat important in the story?
What are two feelings that Wilbur expresses in the barn? Find quotes from the novel that shows when he is feeling like this.
In the end:
Do you think Wilbur will be a good friend to Charlotte's babies? Why or why not?
One of the main themes of Charlotte's Web is friendship. Who are some friends in the novel? What makes them friends?
What are two important events that happen at the fair? Explain why you chose these events and why you think they are important to Charlotte's Web.
Use questions at the beginning of each one of your Charlotte's Web lesson plans to introduce new material to students and review what they've already learned in the novel. One of the best activities you can do with students is discussion. When they can talk about a book, then they are truly understanding it--and you are teaching them about the joy of future book clubs.
You can use several activities in your Charlotte's Web lesson plans to keep students engaged and enjoying the novel. You can also use activities to reinforce reading skills. Here are three activities that you can easily use with your students while reading the novel.
1. Your students pick a main character such as Fern, Wilbur, Charlotte, or Templeton. They keep a journal of their days' activities, pretending to be one of these characters. They report the events of the novel in their chosen character's point of view (like a diary entry). You can also ask them to use some vocabulary words.
2. Create a poster for Wilbur. Your students aren't spiders that can spin a web with a cool word in it, but they are creative and can make a campaign poster to save their favorite pig. Ask them to pay close attention to their word choice and to choose different words than E.B. White did in Charlotte's Web.
3. Watch the movie with your students when you finish reading the book. Then create a Venn digram comparing and contrasting the book to the movie. Finally, assign students to write a compare/contrast paragraph about their findings.
Use these links below to find more ideas for Charlotte's Web lesson plans. You will find printables, more questions to ask students, and other activities that go with the book. There's enough information on this novel that you could spend the whole year on it. If you have any reluctant readers in your class, this is when you may see them come out of their shells and actually enjoy a book!
1. ABCteaching unit on Charlotte's Web
2. Charlotte's Web Literature Guide on Teachervision.com
3. Charlotte's Web activities on Promethean Planet
My classroom experience as a third grade teacher