A Lesson Plan for Charlotte’s Web

Grade: Third grade pupils.

Class setting/ number of members: A class of 20 third graders.

Date: December 17th, 2012.


Class time: 8:00 am


Lesson: Read, understand and interpret, who represents Charlotte or Wilbur in your life?

Rationale: I have been given 40 minutes for the lesson, within which I must conduct the read aloud and achieve my objectives. My choice of lesson, read, understand and interpret, aims at integrating the children’s ability to read and comprehend a story in order to be able to acquire the teachings or lessons that the author intended. Having third grade pupils, I sought a book that was well illustrated with pictures to enhance visualization at their young age. For this purposes I chose the book, Charlotte’s Web.


  1. By the end of the lesson, each of the children must be able to read and correctly pronounce at least half of the new words that they came across.
  2. The children should also learn the meaning of all the words that may be considered as vocabulary for third grade pupils.
  3. Each of them must have understood the story and the lessons that the story is aimed at.
  4. All the children will apply their understanding of the story to their lives. Here they must come up with representation of the main characters in their lives.

NYS learning standards (English Language and Arts):

Standard 1: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding.

Standard 2: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for literary response and expression.

Standard 3: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for critical analysis and evaluation.

Materials: 21 copies of the book, Charlotte’s Web. Writing materials, answer sheets and pens, enough for each of the children.

Class Organization: The class setting is such that each child is seated and with a desk where they can write. At the beginning of the read aloud, I will distribute the materials giving each child their writing materials and a copy of the story book.

Procedure: The idea behind the pupils having books and writing materials is that, they will follow me as I read the story so that they can compare spellings of words with their pronunciation. As the read aloud progresses, the children are expected to ask questions then I will pause and answer. The pupils will write down words that I find as vocabulary to them plus with their meaning.

  • · Conducting the actual read aloud (see pages 5, 6 and 7)
  • · After the read aloud, allow several pupils to comment and ask questions.
  • · Take back all the copies of the book and prepare the children for questions.

Pose a couple of questions, some questions shall be written while others shall not. These questions will be:

  • Who is the main character in the story?
  • Who was Avery?
  • What is the story about?
  • What is the meaning of the words, runt, blossom, hullabaloo, and lure?
  • Pronounce the words, asparagus, and dreary (written on board).
  • Spell the words, provender, marmalade and gnawing (verbalized).
  • What have you learnt from the story?

As the final activity, give the children 10 minutes to write, who in their lives represents Fern, Wilbur or Charlotte, giving at least two reasons for their answer.

Individual differences: The exercise is aimed at helping the child understand the story, enhance the child’s clarity and memory of events, and gain lessons from the story. The exercise is not meant to be competitive, but should be conducted in a way to encourage each individual to participate.

Assessment: When evaluating the children, the main focus should be on how they tackled the last exercise, fitting into the story. The 10 minute question assists to gauge each of the children’s ability to interpret the story, by considering themselves as characters in the story. This will give the teacher an edge when it comes to explaining something to either of the pupils. One must also look on pronunciation, spelling and giving meaning of words.

Conducting the read aloud for “Charlotte’s Web”

Text: White, E. B., & DiCamillo, K. (2001). Charlotte’s Web. New York: Harper Collins Publishers.

Key Points for Pupils

Main points is that I want the children to acquire are:

  • Know the spelling, meaning and pronunciation of the words, runt, blossom, hullabaloo, lure, asparagus, dreary, provender, marmalade and gnawing.
  • Comprehend Wilbur’s lifetime, thereby learning about friendship, love and appreciation.
  • Be able to re-tell the story in their own versions.

Point in the book


Skill and possible prompt

  • Cover Page

Arouse interest, attention and participation.

The children are asked to raise their hands and describe what they can see on the cover of their books.

  • Page 1 (and throughout the book)

Think aloud.

Asking questions, would you rather keep the pig or have it killed? With all its dirt and behaviors, would you keep a pig as a pet?

  • Throughout the book

Encourage questions.

Pausing and asking whether anyone has spotted a word or phrase they do not understand.

  • Throughout the book

Emphasizing on key characters

Pause and ask questions about the characters from time to time. For example, who is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Arable?

  • Throughout the book

Jot down exercises

Whenever you come across a seemingly hard word, involve the pupils, by asking them to say, the meaning, pronunciation of words. These words should be written down.

  • Page 30 (and after the story)

Trying to evaluate understanding.

Think aloud.

Using questions. For example, why did Wilbur take Charlotte’s eggs home with him after Charlotte died at the fair? Who was your favorite character and why.

Possible extension activities



Asking the pupils to read paragraphs together or as individuals from time to time.

The aim is to test their reading capability. The flow of sentences and correct intonation, and sentences are the key features to be enhanced in this activity. Pronunciation is also targeted in this activity.

Answering questions about the lessons learnt from the story.

The book, Charlotte’s Web, aims at teaching children about the value of friendship and appreciation. Wilbur’s life has in two occasions been saved by his friends, Fern and Charlotte. Wilbur shows his appreciation by bringing Charlotte’s eggs back to the farm after Charlotte’s death at the fair. Wilbur’s reward for this is that he finds new friends after the eggs hatch. These lessons should be taught to the children and explained to them.

Writing about the people in the children’s lives that represent characters in the book.

This will help evaluate each of the pupils’ ability to understand and interpret stories. This will give the teacher knowledge of how to deal with each student at an individual level.

Reflection on the read aloud

In this lesson, I am proud to say that we achieved all the set objectives as I had hoped. The pupils were very enthusiastic, especially when it came to describing the many pictures in the book. The illustrator of Charlotte’s web, Girth Williams, has done a commendable job and he deserves credit for the pictures. Visualizing scenes and events in the story became easy, as children were able to look at a picture and tell what it was and when the same name or word was written on the board, they could easily read it.

I however noted that the children were not as enthusiastic when it came to meaning and pronunciation of words. Most of the students were shy and in most cases almost failed to read at all. It took a lot of effort to inspire courage. I had expected this, as most children are embarrassed if they attempt answering and the rest laugh at them. My plan to counter this had been to discourage mocks and commending attempts more than actual real answers. My plan worked like magic, almost all hands went up when I asked a question by the end of the lesson. As I narrated a story, I would pause and ask for volunteers to read a paragraph or two. This was a bit hard and initially I had to pick randomly. This posed a scenario of where the student was either humming along the others during reading and was not actually reading or has a problem with how a word written (Barrentine, 1996). Questions emerged on why some letters in some words were pronounced differently from the others. Most students could not understand this and made the same reading mistake in successive appearances of such letters and syllables in a word.

Single words of their own were easy for all students to read. However, when short sentences were being read, the flow of reading by an individual and in some cases group reading was problematic. Pausing at commas and ending the sentence at the full stop not always had the rising or falling intonation required. This skill in reading is difficult for most children and is also evident with students at higher education levels (Barrentine, 1996). However, through patience, this problem can be eliminated gradually.

Reading involves internalizing what has been learnt. To know if this has been done, one needs to reproduce positively what has been learnt. Mostly, this is done by rewriting the words down. When all charts were turned the other way and the students asked to write the words they had learnt, spellings varied but 67% were able to write the spellings correctly. Half of the rest missed or added one or two letters in some words and some misarranged them. Those who misarranged were concluded to have failed to prove by reading after writing.

In other future lessons of interactive read aloud lessons, it is important to have the students more involved in the lesson. To do this, the students have to get enough time on their own with their peers and siblings or parents to read prior to the lesson. This boosts their confidence in reading aloud to others individually. It is also important to speak directly to a student and point out exactly where they might have gone wrong. This is done to help the student get first hand and quick information on reading correctly (Beck & McKeown, 2001).

In conclusion, learning is a gradual process. It begins from the very basic steps to more complex stages when advanced. Each of the stages of learning requires assistance. However, most of learning occurs due to the willingness and effort put in by an individual learner. The same applies for interactive read aloud activities. Though the session is interactive, each student has to strive to attain maximum success in the session.

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