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Literature Unit Study Ideas for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (31 Days of Literature Unit Ideas)

This post is part of the 31 Days of Literature Unit Ideas series. You can find all of the posts with ideas for thirty-one different classic children's books here. And, if you'd like to use this book as a literature unit study, you can find a FREE printable guide at the bottom of this post.

Today's book is one of my personal favorites. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl has been a favorite children's book for many years. The book is so much better than either of the movies- although I do like the movies as well.

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About the book...

The setting and story of the book is fantasy, but the time period is in the mid-1900s, which is when the book was written. Charlie is a poor little boy that lives with his parents and four grandparents. The family lives in poverty, and one of the highlights of Charlie's life is the fact that he lives in a town with a mysterious famous chocolate factory- Willie Wonka's chocolate factory. The factory has been closed for years, but Charlie's Grandpa Joe seems to know quite a bit about the factory and talks to Charlie about it.

Willie Wonka surprises the town when he announces that the factory will be open for tours for the first time in years. There are five golden tickets that will be hidden in five chocolate wrappers. Winners begin to be found until only one ticket is left. Charlie's family sacrifices from their small means to get Charlie a traditional chocolate bar on his birthday. With baited breath, the family watches Charlie unwrap his candy. But...no luck. Eventually, however, Charlie does happen upon a ticket. And the rest of the book is all about the adventures that Charlie and his Grandpa Joe- who ventures out with him- find inside the chocolate factory.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory makes a good read aloud to use with older elementary-aged children. Younger ones may enjoy some of the funny and fantastical descriptions, but there are probably scenes from the book that younger ones just won't understand or that they may find frightening.


History connections...



Science and math connections...



Language arts connections...

  • This story is a really good one to use to talk about the elements of a standard literary plot. This site has a good free printable plot chart as well as an explanation of the parts of the plot.
  • Charlie and Grandpa Joe see some fantastical inventions inside the chocolate factory. For a creative writing activity, have children think of the invention they would like to see inside the chocolate factory. Write about what it is and what it does and illustrate it with a picture.
  • There are definitely some interesting characters among the winners of the Golden Tickets. Use the free character analysis printable at this site to describe the five ticket winners.
  • One thing that makes this story really interesting is the building of suspense throughout- especially when readers are waiting to see if Charlie wins a ticket. Read this page for a definition of literary suspense and then have kids point out examples of how this is used in the story.

Hands-On/Crafts...




Other resources...



Booklist...


If you'd like to use this book as a literature unit study, you can download a FREE printable guide here.



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