Progeny Press Study Guide – Charlotte’s Web

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NEWBERY HONOR BOOK 1953, LEWIS CARROLL SHELF AWARD, HORN BOOK FANFARE, LAURA INGALLS WILDER MEDAL, MASSACHUSETTS CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARD. #170 ON THE BIG READ LIST (UK’S TOP 200), #7 ON THE GREAT AMERICAN READ (PBS.ORG TOP 100), #63 ON 100 GREATEST NOVELS OF ALL TIME, NY PUBLIC LIBRARY BOOK OF THE CENTURY.

One spring morning, Fern Arable sees her father going out to the barn with an ax to do away with a runt piglet born the night before. Driven by what she sees as injustice, Fern runs to her father and he agrees not to kill the baby pig – as long as she raises it herself.  When Wilbur turns five weeks old he is sold to Fern’s uncle, Homer Zuckerman. Despite no longer being his caretaker, Fern visits him almost every day. In his new home Wilbur makes new acquaintances among the animals, and then he meets Charlotte, a spider who lives in the doorway over his pen. Charlotte’s kindness and good nature win Wilbur over, and they become good friends, although he is alarmed by Charlotte’s eating habits!  Wilbur’s new happiness is short-lived, however, when he learns that Mr. Zuckerman is planning to kill him at Christmastime and turn him into smoked bacon and ham. Charlotte, a clever spider with a big vocabulary and a bigger heart, hatches a clever plan that will save Wilbur’s life.

Through E.B. White’s classic story, students will learn:

About the Author and Illustrator: Learn about E.B. White and Garth Williams.

Vocabulary words used throughout the novel, utilizing a variety of activities to stimulate retention and growth.

Literary Techniques: Descriptive writing, characterization, synonym, irony, fact vs. opinion, in context, foreshadow, mood, conflict, climax, resolution, theme.

Moral Lessons and Character Values: Caring for animals, freedom, friendship, do not worry, fear, boasting, our words, encouragement, humility, sacrifice, helping others, death.

Activities and Writing Assignments: Spider science, field trip, writing, discussion, life cycles, letter-writing, art.

Suggestions for Further Reading:  We include a wonderful reading list of more books by the same author(s) and other books that tie in with, or are similar to, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.

All of the unit lessons are written from a Christian worldview!

Get Charlotte’s Web here.

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