One School One Book - Discussion Questions for Chap. 1-12

Thank you for joining us in our community-wide reading of Charlotte's Web.  Here are some possible discussion questions that you can share together as a family.  Check back here often for updates as we continue in our reading.





Seven Sacred Teachings Focus/Diversity

May 16th

Ch. 1

Gr. K-4

What Seven Sacred Teaching did Fern show when she fought with her father about killing the runt?  How did Fern demonstrate this teaching?


Gr. 5-8:

This book was first published in 1952, the word ‘queer’ appears on page 3.  Does this word still have the same meaning in 2023?  How is it used today?


All Grades:

On page 4 we see a drawing of Avery, Fern’s brother, armed with an air rifle and wooden dagger.  We also read on page 7 that Avery takes this weapon to school.  Are students allowed to bring any weapons to school?

Courage (Bear): Fern used her courage to voice her objections to her father about the unfairness of killing the runt simply because it was smaller than the others.  She had the courage to stand up for what she believed in.

Fern also showed Respect (Bison) by respecting all life on Mother Earth.


In this novel, this word is used for odd (a queer look). Historically, a negative term for homosexuality. Recently, the 2SLGBTQA+ communities have reclaimed the word and use it in a positive way to refer to themselves.


No, students are not allowed to bring any weapons to school, even toy weapons.  This is a major change from a rural setting in 1952.

May 17th

Ch. 2

Gr. K-4:

How did Fern show that she cared deeply for Wilbur?  Which sacred teaching was she demonstrating?


Gr. 5-8:

How did Wilbur know how to dig a tunnel with straw in order to stay warm at night?


All Grades:

Fern sold Wilbur for $6.00  to her Aunt and Uncle so he could live there on their farm.  Although that seems like a very small amount, what would be the equivalent in today’s value?

Love (Eagle): Fern is showing love to Wilbur by feeding it, making sure he has shelter, talking with him, playing with him and spending time with him. 


Animals are born with instincts to survive.  Wilbur just knew how to dig, using his snout, as a natural prevention against the cold.


$6.00 from 1952 has an equivalent value of close to $70.00 in 2023.

(U.S. Dollars used for calculation)

May 18th

Ch. 3

Gr. K-4:

Why did Wilbur feel the need to escape from his pen and why did he return?


Gr. 5-8:  

On p. 14, we read that Mr. Homer L. Zuckerman owns the barn and the farm where Wilbur has been sent.  Who do you think were the original people on this land?


All Grades:

What Treaty was signed on the land that École Centennial sits on?  Our school and our city are on which Nations’ traditional lands.

Wilbur was bored and was encouraged to escape to freedom by the goose.  He returned for some food and felt he was too young to be in the world all alone.  Wilbur showed Wisdom (Beaver) by realizing that he was better in the barn.


Indigenous people were the first inhabitants of the land.  This novel does not acknowledge their presence and contributions.


Our school is in Treaty 4 territory.  These are the traditional lands of the Nehiyawak, Anihsinapek, Dakota, Lakota et Nakota et dans la patrie des Métis/Michif.  


May 19th

Ch. 4

Gr. K-4:

How did Wilbur feel when his plans had to change completely.  Does the weather sometimes affect how you feel?

Gr. 5-8:

Wilbur is feeling sad because his plans have changed,  he is lonely and feels he has no one to play or talk with.  What are some of the clues that Wilbur is not himself?  What could Wilbur do to change his situation and improve his sense of well-being?


All Grades:

At the end of the chapter, someone wants to be Wilbur’s friend.  Do you think that will help Wilbur change his mood?  How easy is it to make a new friend?  

Wilbur felt like this was the worst day of his life.  Weather can certainly affect how you feel.  Having no one to play with or talk to did not help at all.

Wilbur is certainly not like himself, he is not eating and is lying in the manure crying.  Sometimes getting some exercise could help improve your mood and thinking that the rain will not last forever, might be helpful for Wilbur.


Having someone to talk to who wants to be your friend will probably make things much better for Wilbur.  It isn’t always easy to make new friends but one small gesture can make all the  difference.  

May 23rd

Ch. 5

Gr. K-4:

When Charlotte was speaking about how she gets her food, which of the Seven Sacred Teachings did she follow?


Gr. 5-8:

What are your thoughts about how Charlotte’s captures her food for eating?  Wilbur was quite shocked.  Were you as well? Is what Charlotte is eating helpful for the farm?


All Grades:

How did Charlotte learn how to do all the steps necessary in order to trap her food?

Truth - she had to tell the truth even if Wilbur did not want her to keep talking about it.


Spiders do eat bugs to keep the insect population down.  The way spiders do this is quite gruesome but effective.


Spiders, and other insects, are guided by instinct.  They are born knowing how to spin webs to trap their prey in order to survive.


May 24th

Ch. 6

Gr. K-4:

Why would Templeton want to take the unhatched goose egg with him?  Why would one of the eight eggs not hatch?


Gr. 5-8:

Rats are described by the author as having ‘no morals, no conscience, no scruples, no consideration, no decency, no milk of rodent kindness, no compunction, etc’.  In this instance, is Templeton serving a purpose by taking the unhatched egg?


All Grades:

Which Seven Sacred Teachings are being demonstrated by all the animals in the farm as a result of the hatching of the goslings?   

Templeton likes to save unusual things and collect them.  At times, not all eggs hatch as they should.  Some factors that affect the development of goslings are temperature and humidity.


The goose let Templeton take the egg knowing that eventually it would rot and if broken, would smell really bad.  In this case, Templeton was helping all the animals in the barn by taking the egg away to his secret hiding place.


The animals showed love toward the new goslings and the mother goose.

May 25th

Ch.  7

Gr. K-4:

How was Charlotte being very useful to the animals in the barn?


Gr. 5-8

Why would the old sheep tell Wilbur about being fattened up for butchering?


All Grades:

Why would farm families go through the same process year after year of butchering a pig around Christmas time?


Charlotte had a campaign against insects.  The animals were pestered by flies but Charlotte would trap them in her web.


It could be that the old sheep just wanted to scare Wilbur, or maybe wanted him to be prepared for the possibility of being killed.


Farms that have animals, like pigs, chickens and cows butcher them for food for the family.  The butchering of a pig around the holidays would be used as a celebratory meal.


May 26th

Ch. 8


Why is Fern’s mother so worried about her?  Is her father as worried? 


Gr. 5-8:

As humans, we have ways to communicate.  How do other species in our land communicate?  Which Seven Sacred Teaching would we follow by respecting that animals do communicate?


All Grades:

Why would Fern’s mother want to speak to their family doctor about her? 

Fern’s mother worries that Fern is spending too much time in the barn and that she is hearing things - since Mrs. Arable believes that animals cannot talk.  Mr. Arable, on the other hand, is not worried at all about Fern and thinks that maybe Fern has special hearing to be able to hear animals talk.


Other species communicate in very special ways, such as birds with bird calls, coyotes with howling, dogs with barking, whales with singing, etc. Buffalo teaches us respect for all living things and the world we live in.


Mrs. Arable believes that Fern is not really hearing the animals and is making it up.  She wants to make sure her daughter is not ill.

May 29th

Ch. 9


What did Wilbur boast about?  Which 7 Sacred Teaching is he going against while boasting?


Gr. 5-8:

Why do people boast to their friends?  Which two things did Wilbur lack in order to spin a web?


All Grades:

Why would the old sheep tease Wilbur about being smelly?  Which 7 Sacred Teaching was the sheep not following.

Wilbur boasted (bragged) that he could also build a web.  He was not thinking of the Seven Sacred Teaching of Humility.   Wolf reminds us that we need to understand humility. In the wolf pack, each member understands his individual role and in our individual lives humility becomes the factor, which allows us to ask for guidance humbly.


People usually boast to make themselves seem more cool, or special but they need to understand that they have their own individuality to share.  Wilbur lacked spinnerets and the knowledge to spin a web.


The sheep was not being respectful to Wilbur, nor to himself.  When you say something that is hurtful toward someone else, you are showing  that you disrespect them and yourself.

May 30th

Ch. 10


What was it that saved Charlotte’s life? Why would Avery want to trap the spider and destroy the web?


Gr. 5-8:

Why would Wilbur save more food for Templeton from his trough?  Which of the Seven Sacred Teaching is he demonstrating?


Templeton was now boasting about his role in the saving of Charlotte?  What would make him feel the need to do this?   

Charlotte was saved when Avery tripped and fell onto the rotten egg.  Sometimes, people want to trap insects to examine them like a biologist.  Maybe Avery didn’t realize that he would be destroying Charlotte’s way of getting food.


Wilbur realized that Templeton, in his own way, was responsible for saving Charlotte’s life.  Wilbur is demonstrating love and respect for Templeton, even though he is a rat.

May 31st

Ch. 11


What was the message left in the spiderweb?  Why would Charlotte make this message?


Gr. 5-8:

How did the secret get out so fast?  Why would the church be so full on Sunday?


All Grades:

Why would the people on the farm think that it was the spider that was extraordinary and not the pig?

‘SOME PIG’  was the message written in the large spider web above Wilbur’s pen.  Charlotte may be using her unusual web skills to make the people think that Wilbur is an amazing pig, and not just ordinary.


Secrets have a tendency to be shared quite quickly when one person shares with another, then they share, and so on and so on.  People came to the church on Sunday to find out about this so-called miracle that happened on the farm.


It was the spider that was writing on the web, not the pig.  We know from previous chapters that pigs cannot spin webs.  So that spider is quite extraordinary!

June 1st

Ch. 12


Why did Charlotte need to call a meeting with all the animals in the barn?


Gr. 5-8:

How did the old sheep get Templeton to help with the spelling of the word Terrific?


All Grades:

Why does Wilbur not think that he is actually terrific when Charlotte thinks he is?


Happy Reading!