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Week 5: Traditional Literature

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chelsey bahlmann

on 3 January 2014

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Transcript of Week 5: Traditional Literature

Week 5: Traditional Literature
LLED 3110

Read Aloud
Ashley Shadburn
Agenda for the day
Author study overview
Browse traditional literature books
Overview of Traditional literature
Cinderella Variants
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
Interrupting Chicken (2011 Caldecott Honor)
Author Study Overview
Traditional Literature
Put all of your books in the basket in the middle of the table

You will have 5 minutes to browse the books in the boxes
Light by Jane Breskin Zalben is based on a scholarly interpretation of the Old Testament creation
story. From LIGHT by Jane Breskin Zalben, copyright © 2007 by Jane Breskin Zalben. Used by permission of Dutton, A Division of Penguin Young Readers Group, A Member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014. All rights reserved.

The Bible has an important and rightful place in any discussion of traditional literature because it is a written record of a continuing search to understand relationships with one another and a creator.

Children cannot fully understand literature unless they are familiar with this Western world of thought.

The Bible as Literature

Deal with human relationships with the gods
Deal with relationships between the gods
Deal with the way people accept or fulfill their destiny
Deal with the struggle between good and evil forces


Motif: the smallest part of a tale that can exist independently.
Parade of characters
Magical objects
Stories of enchantment
Reoccurring plot patterns
Different “versions” of a story may stem from the same original story, but vary based on illustrator interpretations.

Characteristics of Folktales
Motifs and Variants

Language of the folktale should maintain the “flavor” of the country but still be understood by its present audience.

Dialect is difficult to master, but effective when done correctly.

Characteristics of Folktales

Characters are flat – either completely good or completely evil.

Qualities are revealed quickly because they will factor into the plot.

Seeing folktales as symbols helps children begin to understand the basis of literature that relates to the human experience.

Characteristics of Folktales

Wonder Tales: “Fairy tales” about magic and the supernatural appear because of the secure knowledge that love, kindness, and truth will prevail.

Realistic Tales: Few realistic tales exist in folklore because of the nature of embellishing stories as they are retold.

Types of Folktales (cont.)

Oral or written narratives that have been handed down to generations.

Variation may occur both when the story is retold or published, where literary style carries the same uniqueness as the teller’s voice.


Traditional literature provides the basis for understanding all literature.

Modern stories allude to traditional literature, especially Greek myths, Aesop’s fables, and Bible stories.

A Perspective on Traditional Literature (cont.)

Traditional literature refers to stories born of the oral tradition, the stories most often labeled “folklore,” “folk literature,” or “mythology.”

Ironically, the Grimm brothers, two writers strongly associated with folk literature, did not intend for a young audience.

A Perspective on Traditional Literature

How do we recognize that culture, geography, language, and other influences impact reader response?

Children are exposed to a variety of media that may not conform to the standards of “traditional” literature.

Challenging Perspectives on Traditional Literature

In 1963 the Supreme Court asserted that “religious exercises” violated the First Amendment, but the Court also encouraged study of the Bible as literature.

The Bible as Literature (cont.)

Varying sources:
Aesop, a Greek slave

Jataka tales and the Panchatantra

Jean De La Fontaine, a French poet

Brief, didactic tales
Impersonal characters
Plot based on a single incident
Primarily meant to instruct
Contain either an implicit or explicit moral


Folktale “variants” share many characters, similarities, or motifs, but do not derive from the same original source.

Every culture has produced folklore.

A cross-cultural study of the types, motifs, and variants of folktales can help children discover universal qualities of humankind.

Characteristics of Folktales
Motifs and Variants (cont.)

The basic purpose is to tell an entertaining story.
Humility, kindness, patience, sympathy, hard work, and courage are rewarded.

The rewards reflect the goals of the characters.
Some folktales, such as “Little Red Riding Hood,” have been rewritten to remove themes of horror or cruelty.

Characteristics of Folktales

Almost all folktale plots are success stories.

Repetition is a basic element and often “three” is the magic number.

Folktales usually happen in the past or “once upon a time.”

The setting typically is not a specific place, but “in some faraway land, a cottage in the woods, or in a beautiful palace.”

The story ends quickly with few details given.

Characteristics of Folktales
Plot Structure

An authentic folktale will retain the characteristics and customs of it’s country of origin.

Evaluating Folktales

Cumulative Tales: Increasing repetition of the story details builds to a quick climax.

Pour quoi Tales: Pour quoi or “why” tales explain certain animal traits or human customs.

Beast Tales: Probably the favorite of young children, animals act and talk like human beings.

Types of Folktales

Original folklore was meant for all people – young and old.

Children still enjoy these tales because they are good stories.

Short with fast-moving plots

Often humorous and end happily

Good is rewarded; evil is punished

Wishes come true, but not without the completion of a task

The youngest or smallest succeeds, the oldest or largest is defeated.

Children can relate to these situations.

A Perspective on Traditional Literature (cont.)

Traditional Literature

Chapter 4

Cinderella Variants
With your group choose one of the Cinderella stories to read together
Take note of the characteristics on the Google document located on the home page of the course wiki
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
Interrupting Chicken

Writing Pass activity

Write for the time allotted then pass to the person sitting next to you

**If you want to interrupt their story hold up the speech bubble and continue to write until time is called.
For Next Week
Read chapter 5: Modern Fantasy
Write a response & Respond to a peer
Make sure to read your Modern Fantasy book & be prepared to discuss it for next week's literature circle.
Begin Working on Author/Illustrator Studies
Full transcript