Charlotte's Web is a Classic Children's Story
Years later (okay - decades later - if the truth must be known), I have also read this story to my children.
Only the really good stories are able to stand the test of time. As Charlotte's Web was first published in 1956, it has definitely stood the test of time and has been enjoyed by many generations of children.
For a plot summary of Charlotte's Web, as well as the history of the story, visit this link for "Information About Charlotte's Web".
Charlotte's Web Expands Children's Language Skills
At the time, my children were 3 Â½ & 5 Â½ years of age. When I started reading Charlotte's Web to them, I was concerned about the length of the sentences and the sentence structures used. Charlotte's Web is definitely well written but uses language structures and vocabulary that are much more complicated than other children's stories I've read to the boys.
I did think of paraphrasing some of the paragraphs to make the language simpler for the boys. However, I quickly realised that I was doing an injustice to the boys as well as the story of Charlotte's Web itself.
Reading stories that are written at a slightly higher language level than the language level of the children listening is actually a good thing. It extends children's language abilities, introduces them to new vocabulary and grammatical structures.
Of course, the boys were able to ask if they didn't understand something I'd read in Charlotte's Web and I was able to briefly explain new vocabulary I thought they hadn't heard before.
As I was reading Charlotte's Web, I stopped every now and then to ask the boys open-ended questions about what was happening in the story. In this way I was able to judge whether or not they understood the language being read to them.
It turns out the clever little munchkins did understand the story of Charlotte's Web. While they might not have understood every word or phrase, they were able to piece together what was happening and thoroughly enjoyed the story. How do I know they enjoyed it? Because at the end of each reading session, there were always pleas for more!
Charlotte's Web Is Enjoyable By People Of All Ages
Charlotte's Web is one of those stories which can be enjoyed by both the young and the young at heart.
In other words, I enjoyed reading it to the boys as much as they enjoyed listening to it. Besides being a wonderful literacy experience, reading Charlotte's Web together strengthened our relationship.
I sincerely hope that if there's one thing the boys will remember of their childhood when they grow up, it will be the times we shared enjoying stories together. Hopefully, these cherished times will be the basis of a life-time-love-of-reading for them both.
For myself, I can honestly say that reading times with the boys are often a source of great pleasure. It's as if the stresses of the day are put aside when we snuggle up together on the big lounge chair with a good book. The problems of the day fade as we "explore" a story, sharing adventures that are limited only by our imaginations.
Charlotte's Web is one of those stories that we have enjoyed together as a family. We can highly recommend it! It was refreshing to find a book that uses language so well and paints such vivid pictures with words.
Charlotte's Web Extension Activity
Here's a fun free learning activity for Charlotte's Web: The Characters.
As part of this activity, children are encouraged to draw pictures of each of the characters based on descriptions contained in the book.
There's also a challenge for children to match written descriptions with each character. This is a great language enrichment activity.
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