Free Printable English Language Arts Lesson Plan
Reading Fables, Folk Tales and Legends with Talking Animals
This is a whole class or small group discussion activity meant to follow a story reading time with fables and folk tales with animal characters, such as:
- Sounds Scary
- Coyote and the Cheese
- How Turtle Became King
- "A Story, A Story" by Gail E. Haley (found in Appendex B of National Common Core Standards)
Skills addressed include:
- recall and discuss stories from diverse cultures, such as folk tales and fables
- recount and describe key ideas and details from a text
- describe characters in a story
- connect ideas in a text to their own experience and knowledge
- generate ideas for story writing, and presenting or writing short texts
Recall and Discussion
After reading the story, ask the children to name the animals from the story and make a list on the board.
Go down the list of animals and ask for words to describe the animal characters in the story - little, strong, smart, brave, funny, etc. Write them after each animal.
Review the list of adjectives and ask how they know that the animal is little, strong, etc. Is it from something in the story or is it because they already know that, for instance, a mouse is small or a lion is strong.
Connecting to Their Own Experience
Are all the animals in the story found in the area where you live? Can you guess where the stories might have come from by the animals in the story?
If a story has jungle animals, would it still be a good story if all the animals were forest animals or arctic animals or city animals or animals from the past, like dinosaurs?
What if the animals were changed to other animals? Could a tiger be changed to a bear? Could a mouse be changed to a bear? Why were the particular animals used?
Story Writing and Recounting
Have small groups rewrite the story with different animals. Present the story to the rest of the class. Compare the old and the new stories.
Do any of the rewritten stories from the different groups have any of the same animals? Do the words used to describe the original characters still apply to the new characters?
Variations and Extensions
- Which of the adjectives describing the animals could also be used to describe people? Write a new story where all the animals are people. What would the people be like - big, little, weak, strong, smart, funny? Could the story with people have really happened? Do you like the story better with animals or people?
- Read or recall a story with only people in it, no animals, and retell it or rewrite it with talking animals in place of the people.
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