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Once Upon a Time:
Lessons for Teaching
About Fables, Fairy Tales,
Folktales, Legends, Myths, Tall Tales


Fables, fairy tales, folktales, legends, myths, and tall tales -- six literary genres that engage student interest -- can be used in the classroom to inspire creative thinking and writing. This week, Education World offers five lessons to introduce students to the literary genres -- and to their own imagination! Included: Graphic organizers, student work sheets, more!

Once upon a time, in a day long ago, there lived incredibly prolific storytellers. Their stories have been passed down, retold, translated, adapted, and even "Readers Theater-ized"! In this week's Education World lessons plans, your students will have opportunities to retell, adapt, and, yes, Readers Theater-ize marvelous fairy tales, fables, folktales, legends, myths, and tall tales from origins around the world and across the centuries. Click on each of the five lesson headlines below for a complete teaching resource.

Using Graphic Organizers to Generate Genre Definitions
Using graphic organizers, students create definitions of a variety of story types, including fables, fairy tales, folktales, legends, myths, and tall tales. (Grades 3-12)

Passport to Stories Around the World
Introduce students to six tales -- one from each of six continents -- and ask them to fill out passports about each continent. Student work sheet provided. (Grades K-12)

Up-to-Date Aesop
Encourage students to rewrite one of Aesop's fables using modern language in a modern setting. (Grades K-12)

More Lessons

See more literature lessons in Ed World's Language Arts archives and in our Language & Literature Subject Center. The following are just a few of the resources you will find on those pages:

  • Cinderella Goes to School
  • Fairy Tale and Folk Tale Cyber Dictionary
  • 25 Reading Activities
  • Better Book Reports -- 25 Ideas

    After you have visited those resources, check out 30 More Lessons for teaching about fables, fairy tales, folktales, legends, myths, and tall tales!

  • Ten Characters from American Folklore
    Students learn about Pecos Bill, Daniel Boone, Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, John Henry, and five other characters from America's folk history. Student work sheet included. (Grades 3-12)

    Folktale Writing
    A well-known children's book author helps students learn how to write folktales. (Grades 3-8)


  • Whootie Owl: Choose a Story Use the drop-down menu to select a story.
  • Myths from Around the World
  • The Big Myth
  • From Around the World: Stories, Legends, and Folktales
  • Aesop's Fables: Online Collection
  • Fluency Through Fables
  • Hans Christian Andersen: Fairy Tales and Stories
  • Grimm Fairy Tales
  • American Folklore: Legends
  • Best of Legends
  • American Folklore: Tall Tales
  • Tales from Oban the Knowledge Keeper
  • Mythology, Folklore, and the Hero @ Web English Teacher
  • Tales of Wonder
  • Article by Gary Hopkins
    Education World®
    Copyright © 2010 Education World

    Originally published 9/13/2002
    Last updated 09/29/2010


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