Fairy Tales in the Classroom
by Martenova Charles
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2009
$34.95, 262 pp, colour illustrations, teacher’s resource
Fairy Tales in the Classroom outlines a methodology for introducing primary grade students to folk and fairy tales, leading them through a process to create their own tales. Working from a life-long interest in folk tales, Martenova Charles developed this lesson sequence after extensive research into the universality of folk tales, their significance in human culture, and particularly, how young children relate to and benefit from the stories. Charles then adapted the work of Vladimir Propp, a Russian linguist who identified a series of “functions” that underly all tales and that move the plot along, to develop her methodology. Charles renames Propp’s functions as “actions” and supplies graphic symbols that can be reproduced and used in the classroom to represent the plot of a story and to provide structure for children as they create their own stories. The lesson plan suggested by Charles is simple and adaptable to any type of tale, although in her experience, most effective with younger children who are still open to the concept of magic in fairy tales. This resource will be of great interest to any teacher who is fascinated by folk tales and story telling and is a straightforward guide for those who choose to use the lesson plan with their own students. Detailed instructions are provided, along with samples of children’s stories and illustrations generated by the author’s work with students.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s November 2009 issue.