Types of stories for children


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A description of some different types of stories that we typically tell or read young children.

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Types of stories for children

  1. 1. EncouragingcreativityBy Kristina Smith for SeltAcademykristina.smith@seltacademy.com
  2. 2. A folk tale….• Usually transmits traditional wisdom.• There are often animal characters.• Usually tries to explain something in the natural world, like why there are four seasons or why the fox has a long tail.• Many folk tales are not appropriate for children (in their original versions) because they are violent or have a sexual nature. These are normally rewritten for children.• This is a broad category and includes fairy tales, trickster tales, tall tales, myths and legends.• Examples: Little Red Rising Hood, the Anansi stories from Africa• Websites to explore: http://www.aaronshep.com/stories/folk.html has longer versions of stories that you would have to adapt.• This site has many animated readings and pdf worksheets you can download:• http://www.speakaboos.com/theme/fables
  3. 3. A fairy tale• There is usually magic.• There may be a witch but good always triumphs over bad.• Often the characters are children, who beat the evil person and ‘live happily ever after’.• They appeal to children because they are stories where children are powerful.• Examples: Hansel and Gretelhttp://ivyjoy.com/fables/hansel.htmlhttp://www.speakaboos.com/story/hansel-and-gretelCinderella, Rapunzel and Snow White
  4. 4. A Jack tale….• This is a category of ‘folk tale’.• Originating in the Middle Ages, they usually have a character called Jack who appears lazy or stupid but actually wins in the end because he is ‘tricky’ like a fox and brave. The classic example is Jack and the Beanstalk. In fact there are hundred of ‘Jack’ stories in British culture. A similar animal character from British culture is Brer Rabbit, who always comes out on top.• In other cultures these are called trickster tales. Anansi the spider in Africa or the trickster tales of the native Americans also fit this category of folk tale.• Some Nesreddin stories are in this category, for example the story of the hoca and the pot. (“You believed me when I said the pot had had a baby. Why don’t you believe me when I tell you it died?”) or the story of the hoca feeding is suit at a wedding.
  5. 5. A personal story….• You can also tell the children a personal story about something that happened to you in your life.• But please don’t tell them a lie. They really believe you! And you will spoil the relationship if you tell a story and then they find out that it isn’t true.• Back up your story with pictures and realia. Act it out. Use music or masks…. OR• Create a class book with the children, about their school or their typical day. Then it becomes their personal book. Here’s how.
  6. 6. A nursery rhyme• Usually has a rhyme and rhythm and may be sung. Most have a melody. Some have hand movements or a dance. These rhymes are hundreds of years old.• Many have a hidden political meaning as they were a way of passing gossip about the king and his court in the days before newspapers. Most people do not realise this while saying or teaching the rhymes for children, but it is an interesting aspect of English history.• As an example, the story of Humpty Dumpty might be about the fall of Chichester in 1648. The fat canon used might be Humpty Dumpty. Or the rhyme might be a reference to the overweight English King, Charles I, who was beheaded in 1649.• Did you know that research shows knowledge of nursery rhymes (in an English speaking country like Canada or the UK) is DIRECTLY related to children’s progress in learning to read! Why? The more the child knows, the better because the rhymes teach the sound patterns of English very effectively.Resources include:http://www.speakaboos.com/theme/mother-goose-clubhttp://www.speakaboos.com/theme/nursery-rhymes
  7. 7. A parableIs a short story that carries a religious or moral value. For example ‘There was once a very rich man who became quite sick and neared death. He called for his oldest son and said to him, ‘Dear son, all that I have is for you. Just make sure you have a house in every city.’ Then the father died. ‘The son loved his father very much and set out to build a house in every city of the country... but he soon discovered that building houses can be expensive. In fact, he was beginning to run out of money and he still hadn’t built a house in every city. The son didn’t know what to do, so he went to his uncle for help. ‘I am so busy building all these houses, that I don’t have enough money to buy a shwarma for myself.’ ‘The uncle stared at the son and said, ‘You are a very stupid son! When your father told you to build houses in every city, he meant you to use the money to make friends for yourself in each of the cities. Then, wherever you go, you will have a house for the night!’”
  8. 8. A parable (2)• Some Nasreddin Hoca stories are also parables, such as the walnut and the watermelon.
  9. 9. A myth• Is a story from ancient times that tried to explain the world. Usually there is a system of gods and goddesses who created the world and interact with humans.• Usually these gods are not completely ‘good’ but do arbitrary acts of good and evil.• There may be heroes as well, such Odysseus.• We can take stories from Greek and Roman mythology, Norse mythology and also the myths of the native Americans.• They are important to know because they are part of world culture. Awareness of these stories helps us understand many pieces of art especially from past centuries.
  10. 10. A legend• A traditional story which has little or no historical evidence backing it.• There are usually heroic characters or fantastic places or animals in them.• Myths, legends and fairytales overlap to a certain degree, since they are all story types which have been passed down orally. The classifications were applied by scholars later on.• There are many teaching resources at this website: http://myths.e2bn.org/teachers/#general.
  11. 11. A picture story book• Typically has 32 pages and the story is heavily supported by the pictures. A vocabulary of about 1000 words is needed to understand the original text.• They are usually written for children ages 4-8. At 4, the child is being read to but by 8, the child can read the story on his or her own.• The gruffalo is a great example.
  12. 12. A picture book for toddlers• These are usually quite short, often only 12 pages. The pictures tell the story. There might be about a 300 word vocabulary needed to tell the story.
  13. 13. Why do we use these stories?These story types have some advantages for tecahers helping children tolearn basic literacy.• They are structured chronologically, which makes them easy to follow• They are predictable• The characters are stereotypes and cliches, so children quickly learn to guess what will happen next.• The vocabulary is simple.• They are simple stories with good and evil and good wins.• There are similar stories in different cultures, which makes it easy to introduce these cultures in class.• They are part of our shared cultural history.
  14. 14. What do we do with them?• Develop critical thinking by discussing the values: jealousy, greed, honesty, happiness, etc• Explore cultures – search for images on Internet and learn about the places the stories came from.• Reading aloud or read together.• Drama - act them out• Crafts based on the stories
  15. 15. ConclusionWhy were these different types of stories told in the past? to strengthen community ties, to hand down values, to entertain… perhaps just because we are human!Now you are ready to take the quiz (the next activity)