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Directed Reading-Thinking Activity

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1 Directed Reading-Thinking Activity
Lisa Almand University of Phoenix RDG 530 March 8, 2010

2 Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White Grade Level: 4
DR-TA Literature Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White Grade Level: 4

3 Overview of Charlotte’s Web
Charlotte’s Web is about friendship, love, and sacrificing for the one’s you care about. Wilbur, a pig whose life is saved the first time by a passionate little girl who adopts him as her pet. He is later moved to his new home and meets his best friend, a spider named Charlotte. She is a great friend to the pig and proves through her actions that she will use her talent of making webs to do whatever it takes to save Wilbur’s life.

4 Introduce the Text Teachers questions in black
Introduce the Text Teachers questions in black. Student responses in red. Starting today we are going to read the book Charlotte’s Web. Has anyone heard of this book before? Look at the cover of the book and read the title out loud. Charlotte’s Web? What do you think this book is going to be about? A spider and a pig A little girl and her farm animals What makes you think that? The title says Web so it is probably about a spider that makes webs The picture on the cover is of a little girl with farm animals around her What other things can tell me about this book by looking at the cover? Write predictions on the board and refer back to them later.

5 Read the Text Chapters 1-4
Chapter 1 – Before Breakfast (teacher can ask for predictions at the beginning of each chapter) Based on the title of this chapter, what do you think the setting of the story will be? It will be in the morning, possibly in the kitchen. What did it mean to Fern when her father said “a weakling makes trouble?” She thought he was being unfair and asked if he would have killed her is she was born too small. What did Mr. Arable mean when he said Fern was “trying to rid the world of injustice?” She was standing up for what she thought was fair. What does Wilbur do that shows he is a pig even though he being treated like a baby? He grunts and snorts. In the barnyard, he plays in the warm mud and straw. What do think it was like for Fern all day at school? I think she was not interested in school. She probably just wanted to hurry up and get home so she could go to the barnyard and visit Wilbur.

6 Read the Text Chapters 1-4
In what ways does E.B. White describe the environment? For example, what can we hear, see, smell or feel. The barn smelled of hay, manure, sweaty horses, grain, axle grease, and fish to name a few. The book says that there were ladders, grindstones, pitch forks and other barn tools. The author describes the barn as warm in winter and cool in summer. The sounds of the barnyard included Lurvy hammering, the animals “talking,” and people yelling. Why do you think the other animals were so loud when Wilbur escaped the barnyard? They were excited and happy to see animal get out. They wanted to see the people chase him. Do you think the goose was trying to help Wilbur when she told him how to get out of the barnyard? Maybe…but maybe she was tired of hearing him complain so much

7 Read the Text Chapters 5-9
Who is Wilbur going to meet in Chapter 5? Charlotte Why do you think that? Her name is the title of Chapter 5. Why would someone want to be Wilbur’s friend? He is sad and lonely and needs a good friend to talk to. What kind of traits does Wilbur have that would make him a good friend? He is nice and likes to talk to you. Chapter 6 is titled Summer Days. The birds come out and sing on a summer morning, what do other animals do to celebrate this time of year? Babies are born, the air is fresh to breath and the bugs start to come out. What is the bad news that Wilbur finds out in Ch 7? He is going to be killed before the cold weather sets in. Why do the animals think it is a conspiracy? All the humans are in on it and they are making Wilbur fat just so he will make better ham and bacon. What would humans say about killing the pig? Pigs are yummy to eat and we have to have food to eat.

8 Read the Text Chapters 5-9
Why is Mrs. Arable worried about Fern? She thinks Fern is being silly because she says the animals can talk. What does Fern’s father say about talking animals? “Maybe they do talk” He also says that Fern’s ears may be sharper than the adult’s ears. How does Wilbur try to spin his own web? He ties a rope to his tail and climbs up high and jumps down trying to make a web with his rope. What promise did Charlotte make to Wilbur? She said she would keep the humans from killing him. Fern and Avery like to swing. What other things do you like to do that they also enjoy doing? Playing, catching frogs, eating berries after picking them, they want to build a playhouse. Fern likes animals.

9 Read the Text Chapters 10-13
Charlotte says, “people are very gullible.” What does gullible mean and why do you think Charlotte was thinking about humans. It means “easy to fool” and she is trying to think of way to save Wilbur’s life. How did everyone react when they smelled the egg? Avery ran, Fern screamed and Lurvy covered it with dirt. What do you think was going through Lurvy’s mind when he saw the web and it said “Some Pig?” He didn’t believe it and had to wipe his eyes. How did this change the way humans felt about Wilbur? They started to believe he was a special pig and that the spider was unique too. Do you think the humans are being gullible as Charlotte said earlier? Yes. They are believing the Wilbur is something special when he just a normal pig

10 Read the Text Chapters 10-13
Why did the animals have a meeting? Charlotte wanted to get suggestions for the next word she should put in her web. Why do Templeton decide to help the others? He really doesn’t want to but he knows his life depends on it. Why did Fern’s mother go to visit Dr. Dorian? She was worried that Fern was not playing with children only spending her time at the barn cellar. Dr. Dorian says, “perhaps if people talked less, animals would talk more.” What does this mean to you? People are always so busy talking and going on about their day that they forget stop and listen.

11 Read the Text Chapters 14-18
Crickets sing about the end of the summer. What are some other things that happen to signal the end of summer? Leaves change color, days get shorter, birds fly south, air get colder, harvest time. How do you predict Charlotte and Templeton will help at the fair? Charlotte will spin a new web and Templeton can go and get stuff for them. Why did Templeton change his mind and decide to go to the fair? He found out it was a paradise for rats

12 Read the Text Chapters 14-18
Why do you think everyone was so excited about going to the fair? Because they had a famous pig and the fair is always fun and exciting. Describe the personality of the pig named Uncle. He is not pleasant and he tries to be funny but Charlotte did not like him much. Do you think Templeton carefully chose the work for Charlotte? No, he just chose one that was on the newspaper that was wrapped around some old food. He really was not that concerned with the word. Why do you think Charlotte is so tired and leaves her web? Maybe she is getting sick or she has used all her energy to spin her webs. She is going to lay her eggs and then she has to die. That is what happens to spiders.

13 Read the Text Chapters 19-22
What does Charlotte call her egg sac? Magnus Opus, means masterpiece. How do you think she feels about her egg sac? She is very proud of it and it is the best work she has ever done. Why does Wilbur get and award and what do think it says on it. He has the most people come visit him at the fair and his award probably says “Some Pig” or “most popular exhibit” at the fair.

14 Read the Text Chapters 19-22
If you were Fern, what would you tell your friends about Wilbur’s experience at the fair? I would say that my pig may not be the biggest one there, but he was the most famous and he won an award. Very good. Now, if you were Wilbur, what would you tell the barnyard animals about the fair when you returned home? I would tell them about Charlotte and how she such a good friend even when she was dying she was thinking about me. The humans had a very different experience at the fair than the animals. Explain the differences. Answers will vary greatly. They ate different food. The animals were busy trying to find a word for the web. Charlotte laid eggs and had to die. Wilbur was devastated to lose his best friend. What would tell the baby spiders about their mother? She was thoughtful and kind. She was a good friend and Wilbur was her friend. She sacrificed for her friends and did whatever she had to do to help him. She was very gentle and smart and loving.

15 Revisit the Predictions
Let’s look at some of our initial predictions that were written on the board and see if any of them were correct. How close were we to what Charlotte’s Web was about? It was about a spider and a pig and a little girl and her farm animals. We were right!! The title did give a hint that the story was about spider webs. The picture on the cover is of a little girl with farm animals around her and the story really was about Fern and the other animals in the barn yard.

16 References White, E.B., (1952). Charlotte’s Web. Harper Collins Publishers. New York.

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