Analyzing the Text

These activities are typically done throughout a reading of Travels with Charley. These student driven activities challenge the class to dive into the text to find their most beloved passages, organize their thoughts to prepare for cumulative exams or projects, and connect themes across the book.

Show, Don't Tell

Travels with Charley is more than an account of Steinbeck's voyage across the United States, it is a rich description of the land and the people he encountered. Using Travels with Charley to understand the difference between "showing" and "telling" will not only enhance the students' enjoyment of literature but will also improve their own writing.

From Words to Pictures

Steinbeck's writings are known for their vivid descriptions. In this activity, students adapt a short passage from Travels with Charley into a visual form.

Mining for Examples

In this ongoing activity, students work collaboratively to create an in-depth study guide to understanding key scenes, quotations, and themes in Travels with Charley. 

Favorite Passages

The basic premise of this activity is to create a “message board” where students can post and comment upon important, entertaining, interesting, etc., passages from a reading. This activity lends itself well to working with books as it is an ongoing creation in which all students can choose to participate.

Document Analysis

Analyzing documents of any kind is a skill that will aid students in multiple subject areas. This activity provides a structure that students of all abilities can utilize to build their analytical skills.


The Jigsaw method is a way to help students understand and retain more information by working collaboratively with classmates. Students work in small groups to analyze and dissect a reading, then report back to the class. This collaborative method aids students in understanding material that at first seems complex and dense with new facts and information.