Literacy Learning with Folktales and Fables (And Free Lesson Plan!)

World Folktales and Fables Week (March 15-21, 2020) is a great opportunity to use these classic stories to improve literacy skills and have fun while learning.


With simple storylines and appeal (who can resist talking animals and magic?), folktales are sure to get kids excited about reading and writing. Folktales and fables also provide an opportunity to learn about the countries where the stories originated.

Read on for ideas, and check out the new, free lesson plan about a popular world folktale!

Write Your Own Fable

Language Lizard's "The Buskers of Bremen"

Younger kids will find folktales and fables to be one of the easiest types of stories to write. Since these stories are brief, they can be created in a lesson or two.

Students can use their favorite animals, or one unique to their home countries, to create a couple of simple characters. And kids can use their own experiences to think of a problem the characters will face, and the life lesson that is learned in the resolution.

Rewrite a Classic with a Twist

Language Lizard's "Not Again, Red Riding Hood!"

Another fun activity is taking a classic folktale or fable, and adding your own twist. What if Red Riding Hood was the antagonist, and we rooted for the wolf? Or what if, as in this updated story of Pinocchio, the friendly puppet realizes he can make better choices for himself, after getting into some misadventures with the wrong crowd?

Teachers can build in a greater multicultural component by encouraging students to adapt a less-known folktale from another part of the world.

Literary Devices in Folktales and Fables

When studying folktales and fables, students can also learn about many literary devices, such as symbolism, metaphors, and hyperbole.

Every folktale and fable has a moral to teach us.

When reading about the goose that laid the golden egg, can students identify the moral about the dangers of greed? Have them pick out the lessons in several fables, and discuss whether they still apply to modern life.

Language Lizard's "The Little Red Hen and the Grains of Wheat"

Fables are also a great chance for students to practice character trait analysis.

By studying classic lion fables, they’ll discover that lions often symbolize power, strength, and courage. Or, as another example, ask students what traits the characters of The Little Red Hen portray.

Free Lesson Plan: Multicultural Folktales, Fables, Myths and Legends

Sign up for free lesson plans from Language Lizard

To readers of this blog, we are offering a free, comprehensive multicultural lesson plan that introduces students to a popular world folktale, The Giant Turnip.

This lesson plan is one of many available in our new teaching manual Building Bridges with Bilingual Books and Multicultural Resources, which can be purchased individually or in a new teaching set, a great tool for building a culturally responsive classroom.

Access The Giant Turnip lesson plan by clicking here.

Readers can access additional free lesson plans to help bring more multicultural learning to your classroom here.


Leave a comment and tell us about your favorite folktales and fables that you share with your students and family!


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Anneke Forzani founded Language Lizard ( to provide educators, librarians, and parents with resources that develop literacy skills among English Language Learners, build inclusive classrooms, and celebrate cultural diversity. Language Lizard offers bilingual books in over 50 languages, multilingual audio resources, multicultural posters, and free lesson plans to support multicultural classrooms. The company also runs a blog ( for parents and teachers working with language learners and culturally diverse students. Anneke is the author of Building Bridges with Bilingual Books and Multicultural Resources (a manual to support culturally responsive teaching) and With Flying Colors: Color Idioms (a multicultural idiom book).
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