Some of the words in Charlotte's Web may be difficult for a third or fourth grade student. Most of the students can learn from context, but you will want to make sure they are defining the Charlotte's Web vocabulary correctly in regards to the novel.
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Chapter 1 to 6 Vocabulary
Here are examples, definitions, and sentences about Charlotte's Web vocabulary from chapters 1 to 6:
1. runt--Wilbur is the runt of the litter. Runt is the smallest animal in the litter. It is often thought the runt will not survive. But with special care and love, the runt can become normal-sized.
2. injustice--Fern is angry at the injustice of having to kill the runt of the litter, Wilbur. Injustice means something that is not fair or something that is unjust. Fern feels this way because she doesn't think just because something is small, it should not be given a chance to live and grow.
3. gosling--In the barnyard with Wilbur, there are goslings with their mother, the goose. Goslings are young geese. Wilbur tries to be friends with the goslings.
4. salutations--When Charlotte greets Wilbur, she says, "Salutations." Salutations are a fancy way of saying hello to someone. It shows that Charlotte has a good vocabulary.
5. glutton--Templeton is a glutton--he eats too much and he does not use his manners. Of course, these are typical characteristics of a rat. Charlotte uses the fact that Templeton is a glutton to help her save Wilbur.
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Chapter 7 to 12 Vocabulary
Here are examples, definitions, and sentences for Charlotte's Web vocabulary from chapters 7 to 12:
1. spinnerets--Charlotte has spinnerets. They help her spin her web. Children can learn a lot about spiders through the novel, Charlotte's Web. You may want children to make a list in journals of spider facts while reading.
2. campaign--Charlotte is on a campaign to save Wilbur's life. A campaign is a series of planned actions to accomplish a goal of some sort. Students may have heard the word campaign more closely related to politics.
3. radiant--Charlotte uses the word radiant in her web to describe Wilbur. Wilbur is radiant because he shines with joy and life. Radiant can also mean something that shines brightly.
4. mercy--The Zuckermans show mercy to Wilbur by not selling him or slaughtering him once Charlotte shows them how special he is. Mercy is showing compassion.
5. descended--Descended means to move down. In Charlotte's Web, Charlotte descended on her silk string so she can talk to Wilbur, and he can see her better.
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Chapter 13 to 18 Vocabulary
Some Charlotte's Web activities can be done with these vocabulary words. You can play a vocabulary matching game or ask students to use them in a journal entry about a chapter they just read. Here are some vocabulary words from Charlotte's Web chapters 13 to 18:
1. anxiety--Wilbur feels a lot of anxiety over his fate. He wonders if Charlotte will be able to save him. Anxiety means feeling really worried over an event.
2. rummaging--Templeton is often rummaging through trash to try to find food. While he is rummaging, he finds words for Charlotte to use in her web. Rummaging is searching and moving things around during the search.
3. humble--Wilbur is a humble pig. Actually Charlotte is also quite humble. Humble means you don't take a lot of credit for the wonderful things you do. You also don't brag or act better than others due to success.
4. midway-- Once at the fair, Fern couldn't wait to go to the midway. The midway is the part of the fair that has the carnival rides and often the sideshows and games.
5. stowaway--Templeton and Charlotte are stowaways when Wilbur goes to the fair. A stowaway is someone who is on a trip, hiding on a ship, boat, bus, etc. Stowaways are secretly taking the trip.
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Chapter 19 to the End of the Novel
Other Charlotte's Web activities you can do with these vocabulary words are play study games like musical chairs. When the music stops, sit in a chair, pick up a card with a vocabulary word written on it, and then use the word correctly in a sentence. Start up the music, and it's the next person's turn.
Here are some vocabulary words from Charlotte's Web chapter 19 to the end of the novel:
1. gorge--Templeton often gorges himself when he eats. He can't stuff enough food in his mouth, and he eats even when his stomach is full. Gorge means to stuff yourself with food. It often has to do with greed.
2. phenomenon--Charlotte's web is a phenomenon. It is not something you see every day. A phenomenon is an unusual event that is usually spectacular--maybe even once-in-a-lifetime type of events.
3. indigestion--Templeton has a lot of indigestion at the fair because he gorged himself on all the delicious fair food. Indigestion is when your stomach hurts from the food that you have eaten.
4. triumph--Charlotte and Wilbur celebrated their triumph. Wilbur is not going to be slaughtered thanks to Charlotte's quick thinking. A triumph is a victory or a win.
5. languishing--Wilbur was languishing when he thought that nothing could save him. He felt hopeless and weak.