The Redlands Adult Literacy Program has named the classic story Charlotte’s Web, written by E. B. White, as its 2021 Community Read. Charlotte’s Web is a story that speaks to all generations with its themes of friendship, life, death, and the power of words. The Community Read offers the opportunity for parents and children, readers who have read Charlotte’s Web or are new to the story, book club members and others, to experience the book’s message in a new way, particularly as we reflect on all that has occurred in the last year.
Trudy Waldron, a retired teacher and former volunteer coordinator of the Adult Literacy Program, shared how Charlotte’s Web speaks to youth and adults. She wrote, “It is a fact that even if we read a book several times, with each reading comes new insights and lessons to be learned. In Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White writes with an honesty and openness that gives us the opportunity to reflect on such adult themes as loneliness, fear, death and, of course, honest friendships…It is indeed a TERRIFIC read.”
Guillermina Rangel, an adult learner enrolled in the Redlands Adult Literacy Program, is reading Charlotte’s Web for the first time. She observed, “I just love Wilbur, how innocent he is and his determination to learn. I also like Charlotte, who is very well educated, patient and compassionate towards Wilbur. To me, she is like a very dedicated teacher.”
To enhance the reading experience, a Charlotte’s Web activity guide has been posted on the Adult Literacy website: akspl.org/literacy. The guide includes a history of the author and the book’s illustrator, Garth Williams, as well as vocabulary, discussion topics, and activities for people of all ages.
Monthly activities related to Charlotte’s Web have been planned so that community insights can be shared. Everyone is invited to submit drawings or writings with a submission form that is included in the guide. Submissions can be dropped off or mailed to A. K. Smiley Public Library at 125 W. Vine St., Redlands, CA 92373. Deadlines for submissions are as follows:
Write about your favorite character from Charlotte’s Web. Explain April 30
why the character was special to you.
Draw an agricultural scene – groves, a farm, a ranch – it’s your choice! May 31
Choose a character from Charlotte’s Web and write a story from this June 30
Submit an art project that reflects Charlotte’s Web. July 31
Write a letter to E.B. White, the author, to tell him what you liked about August 31
Charlotte’s Web and how his book moved you.
Dorothy Nordquist, a retired school teacher and AAUW community volunteer, took a college class that centered on Charlotte’s Web. She shared: “Charlotte became my role model, and even now I remember her wise quotes. A favorite quote from the book is, “You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing…after all, what’s life anyway?” We’re born, we live a little while, we die…By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle…Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”
Being able to read and express one’s thoughts in writing “lifts” one’s life more than a trifle. The Redlands Adult Literacy Program provides the opportunity for free, one-on-one tutoring to adults who want to improve their reading and writing. If you would like to learn more about the program, please contact Diane Shimota, Adult Literacy Coordinator, at 909.798.7565, ext. 4138 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Redlands Adult Literacy Program, please visit the adult literacy website: akspl.org/literacy.