We are starting a new unit on Fables and Legends.
Why Teach With Fables?
Working with fables enables children to:
- Build literacy. The concise structure and language of fables have a wonderful effect on young readers and writers. Children learn to recognize predictable narrative structure and patterns and apply these to original writing.
- Build ethical and moral development. Using the shared context of stories, children feel comfortable exploring the moral domain, developing critical thinking about ethical issues, and reflecting on their own values.
- Build classroom community. Through discussion and debate, children learn to listen to each other and express their own opinions about ethical behaviors. They learn to extract and generalize meaning from stories and discuss real-life issues using moral reasoning. Such reflection gives children an ethical grounding in the classroom as they explore themes and values that will help create a caring and ethical community.
- Develop an understanding of metaphor. Children are challenged to relate a concrete series of actions to a given moral, to abstract from the specific to the general, and to understand figurative language. This promotes higher-level thinking as children develop their abilities to interpret meaning and metaphor, make inferences and judgments, and create alternative solutions to problems.
- Translate ethical issues into real life. Children develop and apply critical thinking about events in stories to a variety of ethical issues and apply proverbs to a variety of real-world events.
What’s the Difference?
Fables are moral tales, often involving animals that represent people. They reveal human experiences and/or show conflicts over issues. They are generally short and concise stories.
Legends are traditional, historical tales of a certain people, handed down first orally and later in written form.
Myths are anonymous early stories designed to explain the mysteries of life, generally with larger-than-life characters. Every country and culture has its own myths.
Fairy tales are folk stories about real-life problems, usually with magical events, transformations, and royal characters. In contrast to myths, fairy tales are often told in an optimistic, ordinary, casual tone and have happy endings.
Folk tales are legends, myths, fables, or fairy tales that have been retold within a culture for generations and are well known through repeated storytelling.