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Fractured Fairy Tales
|Grades||3 – 8|
Why Use This Tool
Fairy tales can teach children about how stories work—that there is a beginning, middle, and end. This online tool takes the fairy tale a step further. By changing essential elements in three familiar tales, children can enrich their understanding of story setting, point of view, and plot.
But it’s not all serious stuff. As they rewrite fairy tales, children will enjoy the chance to use their imaginations and be just plain silly. Instead of The Princess and the Pea, why not The Prince and the Orange Marshmallow Circus Peanut?
Children can begin by either reading a fractured fairy tale or writing one. Three stories are available in shortened form to read and revise: The Princess and the Pea, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and the Beanstalk. The tool then prompts them for changes to six story elements: main characters, setting, time period, point of view, main problem, and ending. Armed with their revisions, children can then title and write their own version of the fairy tale.
- To better understand the importance of the six story elements, suggest that children begin by thinking about just one of them. This will help them understand how a single change can affect the entire story. For instance, if Little Red Riding Hood were living in modern times, would she go into the woods without her cell phone?
- Encourage children to experiment with point of view. As background, check out stories that do this well—such as The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, told from the wolf’s point of view. The Broadway musical Wicked does the same thing—retelling The Wizard of Oz from the witch’s perspective. Looking at point of view shows how people can experience the same event and come away with very different impressions.
- Suggest that children use one of the fairy tale structures to work through a problem that they face today. For instance, maybe a wolf isn’t lurking in the woods, but children might be concerned about bullying. The child can contrast the fairy tale solution (ask a giant to scare off the bully) and the solutions available in real life.
We invite you to share your experiences with this resource and provide us with any feedback on how it can be improved.