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Lesson Plan

Exploring World Cultures Through Folk Tales

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Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 30- to 35-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Sarah Dennis-Shaw

Avon, Massachusetts


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



Students journey beyond the borders of their everyday environment in this exploration of world cultures. In this lesson, small groups of students are assigned one of three folk tales from African, Japanese, or Welsh cultures. Students read the tale aloud together and use a story sequence graphic organizer to record the most important events from the story. After reading the story, students create a visual representation of the story in the form of a collage, comic book, or some other creative method. Students then conduct online research to find information about their assigned culture. In a culminating activity, students retell their folk tale using the visual representation and then summarize the research they compiled. Students give one another feedback on their oral presentations.

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Leavell, J.A., & Ramos-Machail, N. (2000). Leyendas (legends): Connecting reading cross-culturally. The Reading Teacher, 54(3), 256258.

  • Culturally diverse students now comprise more than 30% of the K-12 population.

  • Teachers are more effective when they value and understand children's cultural knowledge. Stories, in all their varied forms (folk tales, legends, proverbs, riddles) are very helpful in this regard.

  • Students develop a deeper global understanding and appreciation for cultural differences when they study stories from around the world.

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