Folktales, Fairytales, and Fables, Oh my!

      Folktales, Fables, Fairytales, and Tall Tales come up at some point throughout the year with all grade levels from Kinder to 5th grade.   Over the years, I’ve found some absolutely WONDERFUL anchor charts that helped me create a visual reminder for my students.   Here are some of my favorites! 

These two anchor charts are both from a wonderful blog “Life in First Grade“.
This Fable anchor chart is from another great blog “My Teaching Heart“.
This Folktale anchor chart is from a fantastic blog The Teacher’s Theory.
     After using these anchor charts for a while, I noticed that my students were still having a difficult time understanding the difference between the six types of Traditional Literature.  So I decided to create ONE anchor chart that combined all of the Traditional Literature story types.  Here’s a picture of my anchor chart.


Each type of story was divided into 4 main sections (characters, setting, problem, solution).  I tested this anchor chart out with my 3rd graders, as they were studying these concepts at the same time that I was revising my anchor chart.  Since I see each 3rd grade class once a week, this unit took 6 weeks to complete, but it was well worth the time! 

First Week: We talked about Folktales and what kind of stories they were:

  • Oral stories
  • Anonymous (author unknown)
  • Found in all cultures, passed down from one generation to another
  • “Timeless” and “Placeless” stories

Then I wrote in the names of the six different types of Folktales that we would be focusing on in the next few weeks.  We also reviewed that these stories would be found at 398.2 in the Non-Fiction section of the library.  We walked over to this section so they could visually see the bookcases, and know where to go if they wanted to read this type of story.  

(Each week after this, one of the first things I asked them was”Where are the Folktale books?”  By the time we were halfway through this anchor chart, those 3rd graders definitely knew “398.2”, and they were SO proud of themselves!)

Week #2: We reviewed Folktales and then began to define Fairy Tales.
*Begins with “Once upon a time”
Characters: Royalty or Animals
Setting:  Castle or Forest
Problem:  Good versus Evil
Solution:  Magic, repetition of “3” or “7”
*Ends with “And they lived happily, ever after!”

Week #3: We We reviewed Folktales & Fairy Tales and then began to define Fables.
Characters: Animals acting like people, 3 or less characters
Setting:  Generally outside somewhere
Problem:  Generally only one problem involving trickery
Solution:  Ends with a lesson (Moral)
Week #4: We reviewed Folktales, Fairy Tales, & Fables and then began to define Myths.
Characters: Gods and Goddesses
Setting:  Nothing specific
Problem:  Explains something that happens in nature by using Gods and/or Goddesses; good is rewarded, bad is punished
Solution:  Magic, unusual creatures, Can also teach a lesson
Week #5: We reviewed Folktales, Fairy Tales, Fables, & Myths and then began to define Legends.
Characters: Every day people; animals are often main characters
Setting:  Nothing specific
Problem:  Explains how or why something in nature came to be
Solution:  Magic; sometimes it teaches a lesson
Week #6: We reviewed Folktales, Fairy Tales, Fables, Myths, & Legends and then began to define Tall Tales.
Characters: Everyday people with superhuman abilities
Setting:  Linked to a real historical time period
Problem:  Problem solved in a humorous way
Solution:  Exaggerated details; tells about a person’s accomplishments
    I created some review charts that can be given to students to keep in their Writer’s or Reader’s Notebook to help them remember these types of Traditional Literature.  

This first one is organized by color,
just like the anchor chart that I made on chart paper. 
 This one is organized by story part, so that you can compare one story part (characters, setting, problem, or solution) across all types of stories.

This one is a black and white version that would be easy to copy for students.
I also created some bookmarks for each type of story.
All of these items are for sale at my TpT and Teacher’s Notebook store.
I hope you find them useful! 




11 Responses to “Folktales, Fairytales, and Fables, Oh my!”

  1. Anonymous

    This is great! We do a six week unit on folktales every year and this is perfect for explaining the different genres.

  2. Anonymous

    This is excellent. I am starting a unit on folktales with my 4th graders and you've done all the planning for me here! Thank you 🙂

  3. Olsen Has Class

    Thank you so much! I wish I had seen this last 9 wks when we were studying the unit in kindergarten, but I am storing it away for next year.

  4. Linda Schutz

    Thanks for the informative chart! It is very helpful when explaining the different genres.


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