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Teaching Tip: Folk Tales, Fairy Tales and Traditional Tales, Oh My!

Michele Dufresne

It is important to think about the types of books that we use in our reading instruction.

Students need to be exposed to a variety of genres in literature, including traditional tales from around the world. Folk, Fairy and Traditional Tales have common distinguishing features that students can learn to identify.

These stories:

• originate as oral storytelling
• have characters that are either good or bad
• have fantastic or unrealistic elements
• often include a moral or lesson
• use a setting that is long ago or fantastical

We have posted a helpful guide to the characteristics of the different types of folk tales on our website. Visit our Resource Center to download a copy.

These great tales can provide many opportunities to have students learn about story structure. Students can compare and contrast different versions of the same story. Teachers can use organizational charts, story maps and Venn diagrams to help students learn to identify characters, setting, problem and solutions.

Because these tales tend to have such linear structure, they provide an excellent opportunity for students to learn to summarize the beginning, middle and end of a story.

There are lots of exciting resources on the internet for teaching with folk/fairy/traditional tales. Pioneer Valley Books has a bunch on their Pinterest board. I hope you'll take a look at those.

Have a 'happily ever after' time teaching!

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