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This language arts lesson involves multicultural fairy tales


Language Arts  


2, 3, 4, 5  


   Multicultural Fairy Tales
by D. Van Zee

Michigan Sate Standard: #5 All students will read and analyze a wide variety of classic and contemporary literature to seek information, ideas, enjoyment and understanding of their individuality, our common heritage and humanity, and the rich diversity in our society. (also Standards 9 & 10)

Standard: #2 Meaning and Communication

State Benchmarks: Compare and contrast story elements, key ideas, concepts and varied perspectives found in multiple texts from around the world.

Lansing objective: The learner will continue to compare and contrast story elements (character, setting, plot, theme, point of view, etc.) key ideas and concepts found in multiple texts from around the world.


With the whole group, share the original story of Cinderella by Charles Perrault. Discuss the elements that make it a fairy tale (happened long ago, there’s an element of magic, it ends with the main characters living “happily ever after”, etc.) Share that many cultures through out the world have similar tales. On a wall size chart, make a matrix with the following headings going horizontally across the paper:


As a whole group, fill in the columns with information from Perrault’s Cinderella. Next ask children to volunteer to write the information on 4×6 cards. Each piece of information should be illustrated on the same cards. Attach each illustrated card in the appropriate column.

Assign groups of 4-5 children a version of the fairy tale theme from another culture to investigate. Give them 4×6 cards to write the information and illustrate the card. For instance, the title card would have a jacket cover illustration for the story and the title written on it. The characters card would have an illustration of the characters and their names written in sentence form.(And so on for each category.) After each group has had a chance to read write and illustrate the information for their assigned version, they attach them in the appropriate places and report orally to the class on what they found. The whole class can them compare and contrast the different versions.

Revisit: Use multiple versions of other fairy tales such as The 3Bears,The 3 Little Pigs or 3 Wishes stories.

Enrichment: Have children write their own version representative of their environment, or have them research to find other culture’s versions of the Cinderella tale.


Completed matrix (Group)
Complete inquiry (individual)
I can name three ways the stories were similar.
I can name three ways the fairy tales were different.
I can list three characteristics of fairy tales.

The Rough-Face Girl; Rafe Martin
The Egyptian Cinderella; S. Climo
Yeh-Shen; retold by. A Louie
The Korean Cinderella; S. Climo
Cinderella, C. Perrault
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