World Folk Tales & Fables Week

March 1-March 7 is World Folk Tales and Fables Week.  Most educators could tell you that a child's school career will encounter folk tales, fables and fairy tales continuously.  These stories vary from culture to culture but often have similar morals, themes and characters which makes them prime for classroom use, particularly in reading and writing.  Children who are familiar with folk and fairy tales as well as folk tales possess an important background knowledge of classic stories, their basic elements and story structure.

So what are the differences between these tales?  A folk tale is defined as a characteristically anonymous, timeless and placeless tale circulated orally among a group of people.  Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories or the popular Anansi stories from Africa are two examples of folk tales.  Fables are narration intended to enforce a useful truth or lesson, especially one in which animals speak and act like human beings.  The most widely known and familiar fables are those written by Aesop, such as The Tortoise and the Hare.  Stories categorized as fairy tales involve fantasy forces and beings, such as fairies, wizards or goblins, and/or consist of improbable events that lead to happy endings. Cinderella is a fairy tale that has numerous variations from almost every country in the world.

Sharing folk tales, fables and fairy tales with your children is a wonderful way to read together that will also help to further enhance their literacy skills. Here are a few tools and ideas to help you explore folk tales, fables and fairy tales with the children in your home or in your classroom:

Super WHY! on PBS is a preschool series designed to help kids ages 3-6 with critical reading skills while making reading fun.  Each episode takes place in Storybrook Village and uses fairy tales to teach literacy and problem solving skills.

Scholastic Myths, Folktales & Fairy Tales has fabulous lessons, internet projects and resources to help explore stories in the classroom.

Aesop's Fables Online Collection contains over 655 fables that are indexed by title and moral that also includes real audio for many stories.  This is a wonderful, cross cultural collection of fables that will provide many hours of entertainment.

I challenge you to find and read at least 1 fairy tale, folk tale and fable that is new to you in honor of World Folk Tales and Fables Week.  Enjoy!