Sitting on the colored carpet squares, listening as the teacher read, I fought back tears. After all she had done for Wilbur, Charlotte was gone, never to see her babies be born in the spring. Charlotte’s Web was one of my favorite books growing up, and I couldn’t wait to share this timeless classic with my own kids.
They fell in love with Wilbur and Charlotte, and had fun discussing character traits while doing this Charlotte’s Web activity.
Charlotte’s Web is a wonderful read-aloud book for several reasons. The story and the characters pull the reader in. It is a story of friendship, loyalty, and love. And I love how Charlotte introduces new words to Wilbur (and the reader) throughout the story.
The book is also great for teaching about character traits.
Materials Needed for Charlotte’s Web Activity
- White Craft Paper
- Black Colored Pencil
- Old Magazines with Plenty of Advertisements
In the book when Charlotte first writes a word on her web, she keeps the existing radial lines and removes the orb lines of the web. We discussed what each of those terms meant as we drew our own spider webs. I showed my youngest how to use a ruler to create those straight radial lines, intersecting them all at the center of the web. Then he free-handed straight lines connecting each radial line to form the circling orb lines.
Once the webs were drawn, we searched old magazines for advertisement pages. We chose to focus on the ads because they always have positive words, usually written in a large font, which makes it quick and easy to scan and find the words or letters you are looking for. We found multiple ads using the word “best;” we were also excited to find words like “super” and “great.”
Charlotte uses her web to bring attention to how she feels about Wilbur. Her words make Wilbur feel differently about himself. It is the perfect lesson for kids on how our words can affect others.
For this activity I challenged my kids to find words to describe one of our pets. (Instead of describing a pet, you could also have students find words to describe a friend or family member.) Whenever possible they used the words they found in the ads. If they couldn’t find the words they wanted, they searched for each letter to carefully cut out and glue in place.
My daughter had fun thinking of just the right words to describe our sweet kitten.
My son chose words that accurately describe our dog.
They enjoyed this simple Charlotte’s Web activity, but I worried about how each of my kids would react at the end of the book. Would they cry? Would they still like the book even if one of the characters they had grown to love died?
I needn’t have worried. Not only did they like the book, but they loved the kindness that Charlotte showed her friend. And the end, where three of her children chose to stay with Wilbur, left them happy. And I was able to wipe away those tears without them noticing.
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