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Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Teacher Guide by Heidi Deck

Find this Common Core aligned Teacher Guide and more like it in our Elementary School Category!

Charlotte's Web Lesson Plans

Student Activities for Charlotte's Web Include:

This well-loved novel appeals to a wide age range. Second graders will adore the story as a read-aloud, and third through sixth graders will cherish the novel as independent reading, or in guided groups. Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White, is the classic story of Wilbur the pig. Born the runt of the litter, Wilbur’s is doomed until eight-year-old Fern Arable stands up for him, and insists that he shouldn't be killed. Fern names the runt Wilbur, and they are inseparable until Wilbur is too big to live in their home. He goes to live in Fern’s uncle’s barn where she can visit him. Between Fern’s visits, Wilbur befriends the other animals in the barn, and learns a lot from the comical group of animals that teach him the ways of life. His most cherished friend is Charlotte the spider, who quickly develops a strong bond with Wilbur. Their friendship, and Charlotte’s devotion to Wilbur, will save his life. This touching story will capture the hearts of school aged children for years to come.

Charlotte's Web Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Plot Diagram |Charlotte's Web Summary


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In Grades 2-4, students are beginning to transition from retelling a book orally, to summarizing lengthier texts both orally, and in writing. This skill can be challenging with chapter books because students have to synthesize many details, and think critically about importance of events. A storyboard provides students with a way to organize their thinking and improve their summarizing skills.



Consider having students plan their story board using a blank template prior to creating the full storyboard online. Students should begin with the narrative in each box, before adding character dialogue. This will allow them to focus on summarizing and determining importance, before getting distracted by the details of the storyboard. Students can also be given a set number of frames to use for the storyboard, to help them be concise. After planning on a template, students can compare the important events they chose with a partner, and the class could discuss why different events in the story were included in the storyboard over others.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Make a storyboard summary of Charlotte's Web.


  1. Click the "Use This Template" button to open the storyboard.
  2. Make pictures that show two main events from the beginning of the story.
  3. Make pictures that show two main events from the middle of the story.
  4. Make pictures that show two main events from the end of the story.
  5. Write a sentence under each picture.


(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Charlotte's Web Characters


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Charlotte's Web is a wonderful story for character mapping. The animals and humans in the story come to life with E.B. White’s descriptive language and dialogue. In this activity, students can create a character map for all of the characters in Charlotte's Web. They can describe character traits and provide textual evidence to support that trait. They can also explain how the different characters contribute to the sequence of events. Students can do this for just a few main characters, or for all of the characters in the story.

Here is an example:

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a character map for the major characters.


  1. Identify the major characters in Charlotte's Web and type their names into the different title boxes.
  2. Choose a Storyboard That character to represent each of the book characters.
    • Select colors and a pose appropriate to story and character traits.
  3. Choose a scene or background that makes sense for the character.
  4. Fill in Textables for Physical Traits, Evidence, and Help for Wilbur/Charlotte.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.


(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Charlotte's Web Themes Graphic Organizer

In this activity, students will determine a theme for Charlotte's Web and support the themes with evidence from the text. One theme clearly depicted in Charlotte's Web is friendship. There are many friendships throughout the book that students can explore.

This is an example storyboard, depicting the theme of friendship between Charlotte and Wilbur. Charlotte shows friendship and loyalty to Wilbur by spinning messages in her webs to save his life. Wilbur shows friendship and loyalty to Charlotte by transporting her egg sac back to the barn to keep her children safe.

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Cause and Effect Relationship in Charlotte's Web


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In this activity, students have the opportunity to analyze different events in the text for cause and effect relationships. This is often a challenging task for students, and creating a storyboard is a great way to help them visualize the relationship between events.

There are many ways to approach this activity. One is for students to identify events that have a cause and effect relationship, and then create a storyboard to illustrate those events. With younger students, or students struggling with this concept, the teacher can provide students with a cause, and students can determine the effect, creating a storyboard to match. This can also be done in reverse with the teacher providing the effect, and students determining the cause.

As a further accommodation or activity, the storyboard example can be printed and cut up. Students can then match causes with effects.

Here is an example of a cause and effect storyboard:

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows cause and effect relationships in Charlotte's Web. Each cause and effect pair will be shown in the same row.


  1. On the left side of the T-Chart, illustrate events that show cause (why).
  2. On the right side of the T-Chart, illustrate events that are the direct effect of that cause.
  3. Write a description below each cause.
  4. In the description under each effect, show how the cause and effect are related.



(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Charlotte's Webs: Cause and Effect

This is another activity where students can explore cause and effect using the four different webs that Charlotte creates in the story. Each web carries its own meaning, and moves the plot forward. This activity is meant for students to examine each web’s significance in more detail.

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A Quick Synopsis of Charlotte's Web (Contains Plot Spoilers)

When a litter of piglets is born at the Arable Farm, Fern Arable is shocked to hear that her father plans to “do away with” the runt of the litter. Rushing to the pig’s defense, Fern convinces her father that the pig can’t help being born small, and persuades him to spare the piglet’s life. Fern raises the piglet on a bottle, and names him Wilbur. They quickly become inseparable. Fern’s father knows Wilbur will eventually need to be slaughtered for meat, so as soon as Wilbur is strong enough, he sells him to Fern’s uncle, Mr. Zuckerman.


At the farm, Fern visits Wilbur as often as she can, but he becomes lonely. Wilbur, the social pig that he is, attempts to befriend the other animals in the barnyard. The comical group of animals teach the naive pig the ways of the world. Soon, he makes his most important friend, Charlotte the spider. She quickly takes a liking to Wilbur, and their friendship begins to grow.


Wilbur is enjoying life in the barn until the old sheep tells Wilbur his fate. Farmer Zuckerman will probably butcher Wilbur for meat by Christmastime. Wilbur is immediately distressed, and feels as though his life is over, until Charlotte comes up with a plan. The clever spider begins spinning messages in her web like “some pig”, “terrific”, and “radiant”. Mr. Zuckerman is astonished and begins to see that he might have a truly special pig. People from all over come to see Zuckerman’s famous pig and things start to look up for Wilbur.


Mr. Zuckerman enters Wilbur into a competition at the state fair. Wilbur convinces Charlotte to come with him, and they have their final moment of fame. Charlotte outdoes herself by writing “humble” in her web, the perfect word for Wilbur. No one can deny that Wilbur is one special pig, and he wins the top prize. Charlotte and Wilbur can finally rest easy, knowing he has proven himself too special to be turned into bacon.


At the fair, Charlotte becomes weaker and weaker. It is time for her to weave her egg sac, and she doesn't think she will make it back to the farm. With the help of Templeton the rat, Wilbur manages to transport the egg sac back to the farm, and save all of Charlotte’s children. Sadly, Charlotte dies at the fairgrounds, but Wilbur is comforted by waiting for her children to hatch the following spring. Soon enough, the eggs hatch, and many of them leave to spin their own webs. The heartwarming story comes to an end when three of Charlotte’s daughters, who are fond of Wilbur, decide to stay and keep him company in the barn.


Essential Questions for Charlotte's Web

  1. What qualities are important in friendship?
  2. How would life be different if animals could talk?
  3. Why is it important to stand up for what you believe in?
  4. What does it mean to be loyal?


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•   (English) Charlotte's Web   •   (Español) la web de Charlotte   •   (Français) Le Site Web de Charlotte   •   (Deutsch) Charlotte's Web   •   (Italiana) La Tela di Carlotta   •   (Nederlands) Charlotte's Web   •   (Português) Web de Charlotte   •   (עברית) האתר של שרלוט   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) شارلوت ويب   •   (हिन्दी) शेर्लोट्स वेब   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Паутина Шарлотты   •   (Dansk) Charlottes Web   •   (Svenska) Charlottes Web   •   (Suomi) Charlotte Web   •   (Norsk) Charlottes Tryllevev   •   (Türkçe) Charlotte Web   •   (Polski) Sieć Charlotte   •   (Româna) Web Charlotte   •   (Ceština) Charlotte Web   •   (Slovenský) Charlotte na Webe   •   (Magyar) Charlotte Web   •   (Hrvatski) Charlotteov web   •   (български) Уеб на Шарлот   •   (Lietuvos) Šarlotės Interneto   •   (Slovenščina) Charlotte Web   •   (Latvijas) Šarlotes Web   •   (eesti) Charlotte Web