May is an incredibly hectic month in school, and as a result, I’m not getting much reading or posting done after work. But I am enjoying reading during the day with my students, so thought I’d do a post this week about my “daytime reading!”

Charlotte’s Web is our new read-aloud in my 2nd grade classroom. Of course, many of my students had heard it before, and most of them have seen the most recent movie. But none of them objected to listening to it again, so we are all immersed in one of the most beautifully written and tender stories of all times, and we’re loving every minute of it!

The children and I have talked a lot about how an author uses descriptive words to paint pictures in our minds. E. B. White was a master “painter!” I wanted my students to become more aware of that important part of reading, so I had them close their eyes and listen to the following very descriptive passages from Charlotte’s Web. Afterwards, and with their eyes open now, we read it again trying to pay extra close attention to all the details Mr. White had put into his description … because we were then going to draw and color what we pictured. The kids asked for one more reading (most of them wanted to listen with their eyes closed again), and then I sent them back to their seats to work on their “visualization”. Here’s a copy of the passage I read to them, followed by some wonderful examples of what they imagined…

“The barn was very large. It was very old. It smelled of hay … It smelled of the perspiration of tired horses and the wonderful sweet breath of patient cows … It smelled of grain and of harness dressing and of axle grease and of rubber boots and of new rope … It was full of all sorts of things that you find in barns: ladders, grindstones, pitchforks, monkey wrenches, scythes, lawn mowers, snow shovels, ax handles, milk pails, water buckets, empty grain sacks, and rusty rat traps. It was the kind of barn that swallows like to build their nests in. It was the kind of barn that children like to play in.” 

6 thoughts on “Salutations!

  1. Cath

    I’ve never read Charlotte’s Web but know that it was a firm favourite with both my daughters when they were children. Those pictures are magic!


  2. Robin

    Thanks, Cath. It’s been quite a few years since I’d read it, and I’d forgotten how much of it was written for the grown-ups that are reading it! It’s a delight. You should read it.

    Thanks, Nymeth. I’ve discovered over my years of teaching, that my most powerful teaching tool is my own love of reading.


  3. Carl V.

    I remember Charlotte’s Web being one of the books my teacher read aloud in our class, probably around second grade as well. That story, A Cricket in Times Square, and Mr. Poppin’s Penguins are ones I vividly remember being read aloud around that same time period. Great stuff!


  4. jenclair

    I still remember how I felt when I first read Charlotte’s Web. Years later, reading it to my children was a pleasure.

    The pictures the children drew are great!


  5. Robin

    Carl, I remember all three of those books being read to me, also. I agree that they’re great stuff!

    Jenclair, it’s such a pleasure to read it aloud to someone…our own children, students, maybe the Grandboy in a few years. It always bring tears to my eyes, and I dearly love the ending.



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