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Folk Literature in the Classroom
Folk Literature as Traditional Literatures: Comparing CulturesFolklore: a reflection of peopleSubgenres of Folk Literature
Poetry FormsProse Narrative FormsAnimal TalesNursery rhymesMythsPourquoi TalesChildhood rhymesLegendsTrickster TalesBalladsTall TalesFablesFolk songsFolk TalesEpicsFairy Tales (marchen)
Benefits Gained from Experiences with Folk LiteratureExperiencing pleasure in the language of folk literatureIncreasing students literary optionsNegotiating fantasy and realityTransacting with literature on a personal basisWidening the view of the world
Concerns over Folk Literatureunacceptable literature for childrenChildren are incapable of understanding the differences between real and fantasy worlds.Children should not escape the real world.Tales cause haunting, disabling, and pathological fears.C. S Lewis insists otherwise:Fantasy world is more orderly than the real world.
Transactional Model of Reading
Themes for Instructional UnitsOvercoming Odds UnitAstonishing Animals UnitThe protagonists, through their cleverness or gifts, overcome almost impossible situations.Objectives:Compare fantasy elements with realistic elements.Recognize themes.Observe justice systems that reward good over evil.Animal characters use trickery, allowing children to analyze and compare the tricksters motivations and cleverness.Objectives:Recognize story grammars.Note language differences as observed in literature.Analyze character motivations.
Stories: a universal traditionTales reflect a peoples concept of themselves: (Miller, 1995).
Same stories: different audiences
Worthy Resources Related to Folk LiteratureBourke, R. T. (2008). First graders and fairy tales: One teachers action research on critical literacy. The Reading Teacher, 62(4), 304-312.EDSITEment Lesson Plans. National Endowment for the Humanities. http://edsitement.neh.gov/.Florentine, M., & Smith, R. (2006). Collaborating on a fairy tale newspaper. Book Links, 19-21.Goforth, F. S., & Spillman, C. V. (1994). Using folk literature in the classroom: Encouraging children to read and write. Phoenix: Oryx Press.Grebin, M. (2002). Fairy tales get real. November/December 2002. www.TeachingK-8.com/.Winner, M. C. (2008). The great fairy tale mix-up. School Library Media Activities Monthly, 24(8), 12-14.Young, T. A. (2004). Happily ever after. Newark, DE: IRA.