Before my teaching days, I had the privilege of watching two little ones on a regular basis. One of their bedtime rituals was to have part of a chapter book read to them. Reading a bedtime story to children is not an unusual concept; however, reading from a CHAPTER book to 2-4 year old children seemed a bit odd to me. It turns out, their mother had a lot of wisdom. Her daughter has a vocabulary and understanding of life situations unlike other girls her age. Much of this, I believe, can be directly correlated to the chapter books read to her during her early years.
When I started teaching, I remembered the amazing development in that young girl due to her bedtime story ritual. I decided that I would start reading chapter books to my students even though they are only 4-5 years old. While they would not understand everything read to them, I was confident that they would understand enough to enjoy the story line and in the process, build their vocabulary.
With that goal in mind, we started this year reading Charlotte's Web. This was done in conjunction with our Farm/ Barn themed month and the children loved it! To this day, they will see a picture of a spider or pig and call it Charlotte or Wilbur. They even repeat some of the phrases that Charlotte weaved into her web. Hopefully, the ideas of friendship, self-worth and sacrifice will carry on in their hearts and minds as well.
We created our own Wilburs as a craft during that time too. They turned out AMAZING!!! Even the parents were thrilled about how great they turned out. As one mom said, "It was surprisingly cute and sturdy... something I don't mind keeping." :) Our results are featured in this post but here are the directions so you can make it in your own classroom or home. Enjoy!