Every year in January I start introducing chapter books to my class. I start with simple ones like Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant, I move on to Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park, and when I think they're ready I move on to the classics James and the Giant Peach and Charlotte's Web.
I still remember my 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Vangel reading Charlotte to my class. I loved listening to her read. It is such a sweet story about friendship. It's so descriptive and language rich that I now look forward every day to reading it aloud to my cherubs.
It can be a little wordy and the chapters sometimes a little too long for their attention span, so I will occasionally stop, retell and ask comprehension questions along the way to be sure they are understanding.
Today we read the Chapter III. Escape.
In this chapter, Wilbur the pig is convinced by the goose that squeezing through the boards in Wilbur's pen is a good idea. Poor little Wilbur has no idea what he's in for, being chased by a dog, Mr. and Mrs. Homer L. Zuckerman and Lurvy the hired man. With the goose and gander yelling directions at Wilbur is it any wonder that Wilbur decides following a pail full of slops right back into the safety of the pen is a very good idea?
After reading about the escape I really wondered if they kids understood what I had just read, so I asked...
Me: "How do you think Wilbur felt when he first got out of the pen?"
Matthew: "I think he felt good."
Me: "I think you're right"
Me: "Do you think the goose and gander were being helpful to Wilbur when they were yelling directions at him?"
Jack: "No way Mrs. Collins, that goose should have just SHUT UP!"
Me: "Jack, we don't say 'shut up'. But I think you're right, he should have been quiet and left Wilbur alone."
Me: "Now, how did Mr. Zuckerman get Wilbur back into his pen?"
Margaret: "He used the old food in the bucket trick!"
I think it's safe to say they understood every word!