Folktales are fun and beneficial to children in that they:
- Reinforce the oral storytelling tradition
- Teach about other cultures
- Provide life lessons
On my You Tube channel, Creating Smart Readers (link to the right), I am reading, Martina, the Beautiful Cockroach today. This is a really fun story to listen to and to talk about. A cockroach? Really? Think of the fun you and your children can have talking about that critter! This is a Cuban folktale that can lead to lots of activities for children who are quarantined at home right now. A downloadable partial Read-Aloud Guide to this story is included free here. Martina the Beautiful Cockroach The complete and detailed guide is part of my new Kindle edition of The Read-Aloud Workout (link to purchase at an introductory low price is to the right).
Know Your Child’s Reading Level
Please notice that the recommended grade level for Martina is for children P-3 but the Lexile level (reading level) of this story is actually way too high for kids of that grade. According to the chart to the right, 720 is for average readers at the beginning of grade 5. That is why I always remind parents to read and discuss picture books with their kids before letting them go off and read on their own. This way, children can be guided to find their way around tricky words and hidden ideas in stories. Don’t be fooled – picture books are not just for little kids. They offer a wealth of learning opportunities if read to kids properly.
Folktales from Around the World
Another story I read on my You Tube channel is The Dancing Turtle (P-4, Lexile 500). It is a folktale from Brazil. I am going to list some good folktales from around the world that you and your children might enjoy. Read-Aloud guides are available for all of these stories in my jumbo book, Creating Smart Readers, How to Read 50+ Picture Books to Kids 4-10 (link on right).
- Mariana and the Merchild (K-3, no Lexile available) is a folktale from Chile.
- The Blind Hunter (1-2, no Lexile available) is a tale from Africa.
- Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters (P-3, Lexile 790) is a tale from Africa.
- The Rough-Face Girl (3+, Lexile 540) is a folktale from Africa
- The Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle (P-3, no Lexile available) is a folktale from England.
- Rechenka’s Eggs (P-3, Lexile 610) is a tale from Russia.
I am including The Caged Birds of Phnom Phen (K-2, no Lexile available) here for a few reasons. Although it is not really a folktale, it gives an insight into Viet Nam through the eyes of a small child wishing to get out of the poverty in which her family lives. It also shows how this gullible child is almost tricked by a cunning merchant. This can be a great lesson for children today who are inundated by clever marketing that can lure them in at every turn.
Also, I am very proud to have received a signed copy of this book after I mentioned it in a published article that I wrote with a colleague.
Through folktales and other wonder picture book stories, we can enhance the listening comprehension, curiosity, and knowledge of our children. They can be step stools for our young children who are learning about the world and its people. I hope to see you over at You Tube later for our story.
I would love to hear about your favorite picture book stories and the activities you and your children are doing after reading them. Please subscribe to this Blog and to my You Tube channel so you get notification every time I post something new.