Travels with Charley - Activities

Geography of the Book

Difficulty Level: Easy
Time: Minimal
Learning Type: Hands On/Visual
o Paper
o Map of the United States (either on a regular sized piece of paper or wall)
o Push pins (for wall map)
o Markers

While reading through the text, keep a list of where Steinbeck and Charley travel in chronological order. After each section (or, after the entire book has been read) print out a map of the United States and plot where Steinbeck and Charley have travelled. This will bring the text to life and give you something tangible to take away from the text. It is especially useful if you are a hands-on learner.

This exercise can also be done on a standard sheet of paper, or on a poster board.




Difficulty: Medium
Time: Moderate
Learning Type: Visual

o Cards (either cut up cardboard or a deck of cards that can be marked up and pasted on)

o Colored pencils/markers (optional)

o Computer/printer (optional, but highly recommended)

Travels with Charley memory can be played the same way as typical memory. It is an exercise that is especially good for visual learners. Put the group of cards face down on the floor in a square or rectangle shape and keep turning over cards until you have a match.

The memory cards can be created from scratch using construction paper and colored pencils/markers, or you can use a normal deck of cards and paste information over the numbered side.

The subject for memory will be up to your discretion, but a few suggestions are:

- People /Characters: You can either find pictures on the internet or library to represent characters in the text and paste the name below the picture. Or, you can use the character name as a heading and write a short summary of the character below the name.

- People/Writers/Entertainers : Steinbeck mentions numerous authors and entertainers during the text. You can look under the Cultural References section of this site and use the list provided, or create your own list while reading through the text. You can find pictures on the internet or in the library of the people mentioned and paste them on the cards with a short description of who they were or how they fit into a cultural reference.

- Places: Travels with Charley is rich with geography. If you chose a memory game focusing on geography, you can find a picture of the city or state mentioned and paste is on a card with a brief description of its stats. Another option is to briefly write why the city/state was important in the story.

- Quotable Quotes: Travels with Charley is filled with some of Steinbeck's most poignant quotes; chose your favorite quotes in the text and paste them on the cards. Make sure to reference what page and section the quote came from.

The repetition of seeing the same cards and trying to remember the location make Travels with Charley Memory a great study game.




Difficulty: Medium
Time: Moderate

Learning Type: Audio

Materials: The activity does not require any materials, unless you choose to use props.

You can choose a piece of dialogue from the text that you can perform. Using a monologue of Steinbeck is a good idea as they are some of the longer pieces in the text and the most meaningful. Really focus on the inflection of the piece while you are reading/performing it and also try to see the section you are reading in the overall context of the story. Performing parts of Travels with Charley will make it seem more like the conversation that Steinbeck intended it to be.



Audio Book

Difficulty: Easy
Time: Moderate
Learning Type: Audio (and visual when accompanied by the book)
o Travels With Charley on CD/Tape/MP3
o CD player/Tape Player/MP3 Player
o Book (optional)

You can chose to listen to the entire book or a section of the book during this exercise. You can also print out the Study Questions from this site and see if you can find the answers while listening to the story. 
Another option is to read along in your book while you listen to the narration of Travels with Charley; doing so will make the experience better if you are a visual learner.