Who doesn’t enjoy teaching fables? Kids [and their teachers] love these short stories. You can use fables to teach summarizing, theme, and even that pesky multimedia standard. Sprinkle in a few fable-based plays for readers theater, skits, or full-blown plays. What’s more? Fables provide the perfect introduction to narrative writing.
Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening – All in One Place!
After teaching fables for decades, I finally decided to pull my resources into one place. My complete fables unit has opportunities for reading, writing, and speaking. Let’s take a peek at a few ways you can enjoy teaching with fables.
Teaching Fables with Narrative Texts
Fables are fun-tastic for introducing literature standards!
- Answering Questions (RL.3.1, RL.4.1, RL.5.1) – Fables are great for making inferences and more. The Reading and Writing Fables unit includes ten one-page fables. Corresponding reading comprehension questions ask students to answer inferential questions, find meanings of words in context, describe story elements, and more.
- Summarize (RL.3.2, RL.4.2, RL.5.2) – These short stories are simple to summarize. For younger kids, use this tried-and-true formula: somebody-wanted-but-then-so. Bigger kids are ready for more thorough analysis. Tie their summaries to the story arc used for narrative writing. This way, summarizing reinforces writing processes and vice versa. In the fables unit, you’ll find three summarizing foldables and one template for integrating the story arc.
- Find a Theme (RL.3.2, RL.4.2, RL.5.2) – A clear moral provides the first step in finding a theme. The process scaffolds naturally. Third graders pinpoint a moral, or lesson. Fourth graders find a theme from connected details. Fifth graders analyze a character’s response to obstacles. Fables work well in every case.
- Analyze Multimedia Elements (RL.3.7, RL.4.7, RL.5.7) – Illustrations and videos are easy to find. Here’s your opportunity to teach this elusive standard! Click here to try this portion of the unit for free.
The file includes three one-page texts of “The Tortoise and the Hare.” With the first text, no illustrations are provided. For the second, students see a life-like illustration. The third text uses the cartoon illustration shown above. In the activity, students analyze how their perception of the characters changes with illustrations. Finally, they view Disney’s Silly Symphony version and analyze again.
Teaching Fables with Dramas, or Plays
Students have a blast acting out fables. But plays are not just for acting. In addition to seven plays, the unit includes pages for comparing prose (narratives) and drama (plays).
Teaching Fables with Writing
In my experience, there’s no better way to start a narrative writing unit than with fables. Simple plot structure and clear character traits are easy for kids to develop. You can read more in my blog post on writing fables.
Enjoy teaching fables!