Using Folk/Fairy Tales

Time Frame: 4 to 6 weeks

Teach Reading and Writing Skills


Essential Questions or Understandings:


Invitation to Learn


Assessment Tools

  1. How do lessons taught/learned affect our lives?
  2. How do folk and fairy tales differ? How are they the same?

Display props from various tales (stuffed animals, puppets, cape, basket, beanstalk, straw, sticks and bricks, etc). Invite questions/comments about their commonality or purpose.


Various management forms


Writing samples

Reading contracts

Curriculum Objectives/Frameworks Learning Standards

Instruction, Tasks and Activities

Products or Activities to be Assessed




  1. Students will learn strategies for choosing appropriate books to read independently.
Display different types of books. Prepare bags of different types of books for groups of children. Read one aloud. Classify it. Introduce 5 Finger Rule. Children practice classifying and the 5 Finger Rule. (See pp. 66., 67)
(D2; MI-Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, slight Bodily-Kinesthetic)


  1. Students will be able to follow procedures for reading and recording their SQUIRT (Sustained Quiet Uninterrupted Independent Reading Time) books.
Provide pocket folders and "My Reading Log" p. 44 for each child. Explain the purposes for each. Explain SQUIRT and its rules. Have students practice LOG IN, SQUIRT, and LOG OUT. (See pp. 68, 69)
(D2; MI-Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical )


  1. Students will be able to write a short summary of a book. (Composition Strand-Standard # 19)



Summary/Opinion and Support (S.O.S.) sheet, p. 45 or p. 73 for each child. Prepare a set of summary cards for each group. Read a story. Discuss what information should be included in a summary, and what would not be important to include. Give students practice with summary cards. Explain and demonstrate use of the S.O.S. sheet. Allow time for practice. (See pp. 71, 72)
(D2, 5; MI-Linguistic, Intrapersonal, Spatial)
Ongoing assessment – Children use S.O.S. sheets to provide summary and opinion information about stories they read.
  1. Students will be able to distinguish between fact and opinion.
Read a humorous book. Have volunteers summarize it. Explain fact and opinion. Make several statements about the book and ask children to identify fact or opinion. Use extension activity. (See pp. 76, 77, 78)
(D3; MI-Linguistic, Intrapersonal, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Logical-Mathematical, Interpersonal)





  1. Students will be able to give an opinion and support it with details from the story or their personal experiences. (Civics/Government Strand-Standard # 16; Literature Strand-Standard # 11)
Read Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Ask students to summarize the story. Review fact and opinion. Explain the importance of supporting one’s opinions. Use the illustration of a chair. (See pp. 79, 80). Allow time for practice.
(D3, 5; MI-Linguistic, Spatial, Intrapersonal)

Open-ended question with rubric (attached).

"Think about Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Was Goldilocks smart to go into the Bears’ house? Why or why not?

  1. Students will understand the procedures for completing their Reading Contract obligations.
Explain the use of the Reading Contract. Follow procedures stated on p. 81.
(D2; MI-Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical)


  1. Students will demonstrate story comprehension, draw conclusions, and make inferences.
    (Literature Strand-Standard # 12)
Read a book with strong character development. Give a summary and ask students for their opinions of the characters. Make a story map of the book. Explain the "Can Do" activity. Follow directions on pp. 83 and 84.
(D2, 5; MI-Linguistic, Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal)

Students choose a set of "Can Do" cards from a pile. They read the cards and place them in the appropriate story can.

  1. Students will demonstrate comprehension by comparing and contrasting two literature selections. (Literature Strand-Standard # 16; History Strand-Standard #5)
Read two books with similar characters. Use lists, charts and Venn diagrams to compare these. (See p. 85)
(D3; MI-Linguistic, Spatial)

Make Peek Overs to illustrate comparisons. (See pp. 86, 87, 88 for directions)

  1. Students will show appreciation for different viewpoints by retelling a story from another character’s point of view. (Literature Strand-Standard # 18)


Read one of the books suggested on p. 89. Compare the character’s point of view to the traditional version of the story. Discuss. Use spinners and die to give children practice looking at ideas from different points of view.

Follow suggestions for procedures on p. 90.
(D3, 5; MI-Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal)

Have each student design a chart to compare the view points of two characters on several story events.

  1. Students will demonstrate story sequencing and comprehension by developing a game board. (Literature Strand-Standard # 12)
Read two books, one with a linear and one with a circular plot. Have students summarize the story. Talk about board games children know pointing out the difference between linear and circular boards. Have children think about the two stories they heard and decide which would be linear, which would be circular and why.
(D4, 5; MI-Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal)

Have children read a book and create a game board around the story.





  1. Students will record their feelings, impressions, and observations in a writer’s journal. (Language Strand-Standard # 4)


Read a diary or journal-type book and discuss the kinds of feelings, impressions, and observations the character shares. Have students choose an event in their lives to write about in their journals. Ask volunteers to share their entries. Have the class evaluate for feelings, impressions, etc.
(D3, 5; MI-Linguistic, Intrapersonal, Interpersonal)

Ongoing assessment will include daily writing from which students will be asked periodically to choose one of their entries and work to make it a better (perhaps more descriptive, more detailed, grammatically correct, etc.)

  1. Students will generate a list of writing topics.
Read a book written by a well-published author. Discuss how the writer may have come up with ideas for his/her books. Have students work in groups to brainstorm possible writing topics. Make a master list on the board. Have each child choose 5-10 of its personal favorites and list on the "brainstorms " sheet (p.99). They will keep these for future writing assignments.
(D2; MI-Linguistic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal)


  1. Students will understand that writing goes through a variety of steps before the initial idea becomes a finished piece of writing. (Language Strand-Standard # 5)
Read a story to the class. Ask what things they think a writer might have to do to write a story and have it published. Bring in the idea of the writing process (story map, rough draft, conferencing, revising, editing, layout, publishing). Have students put these steps in logical order on the writing process pencil (p. 104).
(D2; MI-Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal)
Ongoing assessment – Randomly choose students to explain the steps they took in writing a particular piece.
  1. Students will be able to use prewriting strategies to organize thoughts for writing. (Composition Strand-Standard # 19)


Use a snapshot of a person to explain the parts of a story. Make a story map (p. 108) using information about the snapshot. After this has been modeled, have the children work in groups to practice the procedure.
(D2; MI-Linguistic, Intrapersonal, Spatial, Interpersonal)
Ongoing assessment – Periodically select some children to map a story that has been written by another student.
  1. Students will be able to write story beginnings that establish an appropriate focus for their readers. (Composition Strand-Standard # 19; Economics Strand-Standard # 12)


Lead a discussion about what makes us want to continue reading a particular story. (The beginning of the story is interesting.) Read the beginnings of several stories. After each ask whether they would like to hear the rest of the story. Ask why or why not. Use the snapshot from the previous lesson to write a story beginning using the window book pattern, p. 111. Have students work in groups to follow this procedure. (See pp. 109, 110, 111 for specific instructions.)
(D2; MI-Linguistic, Intrapersonal, Interpersonal)
  1. Students will be able to use a story map to write a rough draft. (Composition Strand-Standard # 21)
Make a story map of a familiar story on the board. Ask the students to think about how the author described the characters, setting, etc., as the story is read. Discuss some interesting language. Retell the story using basic language such as, "The characters in the story are…The story takes place…" Help students to recognize that the interesting language is indeed preferable. Have students work in groups to review and discuss the story beginnings they wrote earlier. Students will then continue with the middle part of their stories. Share and discuss.
(D2,5; MI-Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical)
  1. Students will be able to distinguish between a story’s final event, how the problem or conflict was resolved and the closing or "happily ever after" statement. (Literature Strand-Standard # 12)


Display some familiar books. Ask students to retell the story. Focus on the problem and how it is resolved. Discuss story endings using directions on p. 114. Use snapshot story to model an appropriate ending. Children will use their snapshots to finish their stories.
(D3,5; MI-Linguistic)
Read a folk tale or fable pointing out the lesson as an ending. Read a second story and have students write the ending.
  1. Students will view conferring with peers as a positive way to get and give helpful suggestions about writing. (Language Strand-Standards # 1 and 2; Composition Strand-Standard 21)
Discuss Peer Conference rules. Role play ways to handle situations given on p. 116, showing both the right way and the wrong to act. Model a peer conference with two students using form on p. 46. Demonstrate how to make Peer Conferencing Diaries for future use.

Using students’ sample work, review revising skills. (Details, p. 117) Let children practice peer conferencing with situation cards p. 119. Then have them conduct peer conferences discussing their rough drafts.
(D2, 3; MI-Linguistic, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal)

Ongoing assessment – Periodically have students explain to one another how to revise a rough draft of a story. Allow them to role play peer conferencing as needed using situation cards.
  1. Students will recognize the need to edit their writing so that it conforms to standard spelling and punctuation. (Language Strand-Standard # 5; Composition Strand-Standard # 21)


Write a paragraph on the board as described on p. 120. Discuss the need for proper spelling and punctuation. Model the 5 step editing process. Use hand model on p. 123 to help children visualize the process. Have children work with partners to edit rough drafts using editing process and marks as discussed.
(D2; MI-Linguistic, Intrapersonal, Interpersonal)

Ongoing assessment – Daily editing practice – write a short paragraph on the board for children to copy and edit.

  1. Students will become familiar with the parts of books and use this information to publish a window book. (Composition Strand-Standard # 19)
Read How a Book is Made by Aliki. Share finished snapshot book comparing it to the rough draft. Have children look at several books noting what information is included (see p. 125).
(D3; MI-Linguistic, Spatial)
Have students plan the layout for their books and explain their plan to a friend. Then ask the "friends" to explain the plan to the class.

Final Assessment

Students will write a folk or fairy tale. Tales must have elements of the genre, e.g. unreal, teaches a lesson, etc. Tales will be scored on a two component rubric, content and skills.


Materials, Resources

The Reading-Writing Workshop: Getting Started by Norma R. Jackson. Scholastic, 1992.

Practical Assessment for Literature-Based Reading Classrooms by Adele Fiderer. Scholastic, 1995.

Teacher’s Notes/Evaluation


E-mail Jean Buell for answers to questions about this unit.