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Fairytales, Folktales, and Animal Tales: A Culturally Responsive Approach to Literacy

Author: Aimee Davis


Thomas G. Morton Elementary

Year: 2010

Seminar: Multi-Cultural Fairy Tales: Portals to the Humanities

Grade Level: 4

Keywords: African American folktales, fairytales, West African Geography

School Subject(s): English, Literature

Culturally responsive literature will allow students to connect so that strategies for achieving higher order and critical thinking can be more readily applied. This unit will serve as a guide for teachers who have fourth grade students performing at varying levels who are of African or African American descent. The materials and strategies are designed to elicit and build on prior knowledge that these students bring to the classroom. Materials include stories that students have been hearing since they were very young, with a focus here on tales of spiders and creation stories. The unit also draws upon their knowledge of popular American versions of fairy tales from the students’ traditions for comparison, contrast, and discussion of the origins and meanings of cultural differences. Folk and Fairy tales from native traditions stimulate exploration of  non-fiction material as well, an area where many of our students falter in testing. The non-fiction resources will be used to explore West African geography and history alluded to in the folktales. Thus students will be supported by the recognition of their own rich heritage, while acquiring necessary skills such as making assertions and explaining literary elements. Activating prior knowledge, this student-centered approach to education will help students gain and apply new skills more quickly while sustaining a higher interest level.


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Full Unit Text
Content Objectives


Teachers have long been dependent upon teacher’s edition guides to pull their students to proficient levels. Many instructors adhere strictly to these large spiral bound books as a way to mold their students’ thinking. Relying on these guides, we go through the lessons prescribed for day one, day two, and so on without looking to our students for direction  and using testing for feedback. The lingering achievement gap of our African and African American students, suggests to me that these teacher’s guides have not proven to be the best learning tool for our students. The guides were not, in fact, written with our students in mind. The small boxes on the bottom of the page that say “For ELL of below level” does not work for all students who are ELL or below level, or even for the ELL who is not below level.

Changing a mindset in which the teacher’s guide is considered the best teaching aid – to a mindset in which teaching must also begin with the student’s culture and academic level requires a partnership among administration, teachers, and academic leaders. This unit will guide teachers to use culturally responsive tools to teach required skills. The term “culturally responsive” is defined by Joan Webster in her book, Teaching Through Culture. Webster writes: “culturally responsive pedagogy relates to improving teaching practices by making them more compatible to the different cultural, racial, ethnic, and linguistic orientation of students (2). She goes further to explain that a teacher who is being culturally responsive will build on students’ prior knowledge and use appropriate communication and interactional styles to engage students in their learning. Specifically, culturally responsive teaching utilizes practices that are in response to the culture of the students. In this case, the students in the class are 98% African or African American. Thus, all material chosen will reflect these cultures. The skills will be the same skills fourth graders all over Philadelphia are learning, but through different material and resources.

Culturally responsive literature will allow students to connect so that strategies and higher order critical thinking can be more readily applied. This unit will serve as a guide for teachers who have fourth grade students, of many levels, who are of African or African American descent. The material and strategies are based on the prior knowledge that these students have. It relies on the stories they have been hearing since they were born, tales of spiders, moral dilemmas, and creation stories. The unit also uses their American immersed knowledge of fairy tales as a comparing and contrasting tool with similar tales from their own heritage. This unit strives to include non-fiction material as well, as this is where many of our students falter in testing. The non-fiction resources will also be based on West African folktales, geography, and history. They will learn of their rich heritage while acquiring the necessary skills such as making assertions and explaining literary elements. This type of student centered learning will cause prior knowledge to be activated more readily so that students can apply skills quicker and with higher interest level. The resources used will be of many genres but will be centered around the theme of West Africa. All material students will be asked to use as a learning tool will allow them to connect the richness of their culture to the application of new skills. Although the unit focuses on literary skills, the culminating activity will involve the storytelling technique employed by the African people. Storytelling will be incorporated as often as possible in this unit. In a classroom where the incorporation of all learning styles is encouraged, African storytelling “improvisational art” lends itself to the kinesthetic, auditory and tactile learner. In the compilation of folktales told by Liberian elders, Mary Hufford writes in the preface, “Liberian storytelling is participatory on several levels. Community storytelling encodes rules for turn taking, orchestrates cooperation, cultivates listening and speaking skills and encourages us to imagine the deeds of our fellow beings and their consequences from many points of view”(9). Teachers will be able to use the storytelling techniques and the actual folktales to illustrate the concepts directed by the state of Pennsylvania learning standards. The interactions between storytelling and plot will be evident in lessons where literacy elements are the focus. Critical thinking will tie in when students make the connection of being moral in any given situation. Animal stories can be a medium used to criticize a social or moral code. These animal and creation stories can refer to critical reflection and moral debate.

Students will be engaged as they put their own stories into a classroom book that reflects the stories of their families. This unit will also cross curriculum to researching animals for science, studying maps for geography and creating creatures from clay for art. The unit should take a ten week period using the focus skills identified in the School District of Philadelphia Core Curriculum.


Students learn not when being taught at, but when they are given opportunities to create their own learning. Students can take the information being given to them, see how it relates to them and to what they have already been taught and processed. Hunsberger discusses this in his article, “A Call for Connectedness.” He states that connectedness- a stronger link between what children learn and what they live, harnessed in the classroom in order to develop crucial consciousness- is accomplished through culturally relevant teaching” (422). He goes on to explore how knowledge is not passed on through a linear process whereas knowledge is given, taken, and used. Instead, students must make knowledge their own by using it, both intellectually and physically. Hunsberger says that students will test the new knowledge for validity in their own experience. Edith Cobb’s child developmental research leads to similar thoughts as she discusses a “world making experience” and “perception.” She states that children use their senses to experience the world by recreation and that learning is built upon. “Perception is a building on primary perception of relations and parts into more and more complex systems.” Cobb is telling us that our students are taking the new information we are giving them and adding to what they know and making new meanings -meanings that are relevant to them. Using this information from Hunsberger and Cobb, we can begin the process of instructing with critical thinking and independent learning as focus skills. We can keep in mind that our instruction is a process where we aid students in the building of their own intellect. This is an intellect which they will take with them and apply to many situations. It is an intellect that is always dynamic as more information is added. Cobb uses the term “world making” because it encompasses learning in the widest sense. This intellect is world making as students create their own meaning of what they find in the world. They are making their knowledge pliable to the experiences they have had and will have in the future.

African and African American students make up a huge percent of the population of our students in the Southwest region of Philadelphia. The material being offered in literacy instruction does not always offer a mirror for student reflection. Connecting to reading material, as any well read adult can affirm, is the key to comprehension. When students can relate to material, their prior knowledge is activated and they can focus on applying strategies being taught. The strategy should be the focus and the reading material should be the tool that we use to teach the strategy. Students will take and apply the strategy to other areas of their academic life. This will help to fulfill part of The School District of Philadelphia’s Mission Statement that says, “”all students (are) to achieve their full intellectual and social potential in order to become lifelong learners and productive members of society.” We are teaching students to take these strategies and apply them throughout their lives whenever thinking critically is necessary. By using connectable and high interest material in the classroom, we are allowing students an easier road on which to apply the strategies. This change of reading material can be one of the ways to differentiate instruction for our diverse bicultural and multicultural population. By offering this material we are showing students that their backgrounds are significant to their learning and that we respect them and their cultures. When respect between teacher and student is fostered, then learning can begin.

The over arching question of this unit is the following: How can resources that reflect student culture be used to make connections and trigger internalization of skills? This has been done in some classes-using some culturally connected material with unconnectable material. There are times when a student will connect to material one week, when the weekly story includes three fables, but not the next when a quiet Asian  girl is the main character. Students need to connect o all stories to internalize meaning of the skill. This mish-mosh of material is not a way to truly understand the effects of African and African American material for students of that culture. The hypothesis is that this material which is based on the culture of African and African American students will be a more effective resource to teach the skills described in the core curriculum than what is currently being offered in the basal reading series. A way to measure that success will be standardized test results such as benchmarks, which are given every eight weeks. A bonus feature of this curriculum is that it will show the commonalities between the African and the African American cultures. This is greatly needed in our school community where violence is sometimes the result of differences between these two common cultures.

The main focus of this unit will be to make gains in student improvement by teaching skills highlighted by the core curriculum, but by teaching using the topics that are already known to them, or of interest to them. The topics will be a blend of the African culture and the American culture, so that students can see themselves in the stories, connect to them, and use them to internalize a skill. Connectedness is the basis for all learning because when we see ourselves in reading material, it is then when we grab onto the material mentally, and analyze it to seek more of ourselves. Grappling with literature that we connect to is a process that allows us to use the literature as a source with which to interpret and draw conclusions from. These are the exact skills we are trying to teach. While teaching these particulars, we will be drawing from the “traditional Liberian setting.” In this setting where many students reside, stories are a “means to build character, as well as verbal dexterity and mental acuity in children” (Hufford 2). Teachers will be keeping elements of their homeland heritage while infusing the focus skills needed to be successful in their new surroundings.


To prepare for writing this unit, I have researched fairy tales and folktales which are commonly told among the West African people. The storytelling aspect is related to the tales as a way of telling stories and a way for them to tell stories that can be later written and dramatized. Stories have taught and entertained many in West African culture.

I have also research culturally responsive literature as a method of teaching. Culturally responsive teaching uses the students’ already acquired prior knowledge as a base for connecting new material. For example, when teaching about the use of maps, which connects to the setting of fairy tales, one of the activities asks students to create maps using their experiences or sensory memories. Joan Webster writes about sensory maps in her book, Teaching Through Culture: “Places and objects in (descriptive language) provide very sensory images that live in our memories through sight, smell, sound, touch, and sometimes even taste” (20). These maps can be used to trigger descriptive writing. The writing can be real or fictional but based on memory. Culturally responsive teaching is the basis for much of this unit. Culturally responsive teaching is a way for students to continue identifying with their first culture as they are being immersed into the dominant and becoming a bicultural student. During some of my research using culturally responsive literature, I read a novel, Under the Mango Tree with my Liberian students. This novel described the plight of an American girl in Liberia. The use of snakes, among other symbolism, allowed for my students to engage in lively discussion. One fifth grade Liberian ESL student was able to trace the use of the snake throughout the story as a symbol of something standing in the way of the humans, possibly something dangerous. The student writes: “I also think that the story Boima told Sarina about a snake who didn’t want to let human take the mango from the tree and when Sarina went to the water the snake chase her. I think the author say the snake in the water because the story Boima told Sarina about the snake. The snake in the mango tree was like the water snake in the ocean because they both didn’t want humans to enjoy their selves.” This student is getting into high order thought while also grasping the meaning of symbolism. The use of snakes is explored in this unit in expository and in fiction. The use of Liberia as a setting allows for connections and for high interest reading for these students.

Fairy tales can speak to the situation of the ESL student in an important way. These students who are often transplanted from another country are trying to recreate themselves, incorporating new sets of cultural values within the ones they already have acquired. A recurring theme in fairy tales is a quest to find a home or recreate the self. ESL students may relate easily to this theme. Jack Zipes explains this in his book when he discusses the purposes of fairy tales. He says, “The fairy tale ignites a double quest for home. One occurs in the reader’s mind and is psychological and difficult to interpret because the reception of an individual tale varies according to the background and experience of the reader” (173). This search for home, or something that feels like home, is one that the students who are new to United States can relate. The connection they feel to the themes of theses tales, whether it is through the ideas the stories represent or the actual characters and settings, is what will help them to learn the skills which are being presented.

The fourth grade is an opportune time to present these stories. According to Piaget’s theory, students of this age are at the end of the spectrum where they can believe in the magic at least in theory without doubt and pessimism of the pre teen or teenager (Zipes 176). This ability to suspend belief on the story allows the student to hold interest so the skill can be penetrated and applied.

Lancy’s research on the Kpelle cultural group also lends itself to the ideas behind using these resources that allow for cultural connections. In his book, Playing in the Mother Ground, he explores the theory that each society generates routines for the caring and enculturation of its children. While he discusses different reasons Kpelle have for bearing children, these reasons may change as the children are brought to the United States. What remains though, is what the children are in the presence of when they are in the company of the adults in their life. According to Lancy’s research, Kpelle children are in the presence of games, folktales, singing, dancing, and apprenticeship. Teachers can use this knowledge of where our Kpelle children are coming from and attempt to teach them in this same vein, at least some of the time. We can use these modes of instruction through modeling as the adults in their home life do.

It will also be important to note that, according to data analysis of benchmarks and other standardized tests, our students often struggle with nonfiction texts and critical thinking in their writing. Reading nonfiction which is also related to West Africa and the folktales which will be covered is a focus of my unit. I will plan my unit around the focus skills in the first ten weeks of instruction of the core curriculum. I will also keep in mind the balanced literacy wheel and writing workshop as I plan my unit using culturally responsive, high interest reading material.


The Core curriculum of the School District of Philadelphia is aligned to the Pennsylvania Academic Standards. The following topics will be covered: Learning to Read Independently (1.1), Reading Critically in All Content Areas (1.2), Reading, Analyzing and Interpreting Literature (1.3),  Quality of Writing (1.5), Speaking and Listening (1.6).


This unit is intended for African and African American students in grade four. But it can be adjusted for grades three through seven as many standards and focus skills are similar in these grades. They are instructed in literacy during a 120 minute block. During this time they have shared reading, guided reading, and writing workshop. The objective is to teach the focus skills in the core curriculum using reading material which is related to their African culture. The objectives blend the focus skills and the content descriptors with the balanced literacy components. The resources used allow students to connect their prior knowledge. While the objective is always the focus, students are given opportunities to embrace their connection to African literacy. They are exposed to many genres while they foster their literacy skills. Fairy tales serve as the opening and cornerstone for the unit. Fairytales are chosen as a basis for the unit because they provide a connection for children. They offer elements such as magic that spark interest, as well as situations where characters set the stage for moral debate. Other elements of the fairy tale, such as the snake and the settings will spin into different genres of literacy such as nonfiction in science and culture and creation stories. This allows for more genres and standards to be covered during the duration of this unit. Fairy tales are the starting point for the unit as other genres follow so that student centered learning projects can be created while focusing on the content descriptors in the school district’s core curriculum. The entire unit may take as much as fourteen weeks, but certain pieces can be taken out as needed. Objectives, topics, and suggested timeframes follow below:

Content Describing Objectives:

1.Explain and compare use of narrative elements

2.Use context clues for analyzing vocabulary

3.Make inferences about similar concepts in two texts and draw conclusions                            from inferences

4.Cite evident form text to support reasonable assertions

5.Examine figurative language and mood

6.Use prior ideas presented in text to make predictions

7.Relate new information from text to what is being learned

8.Examine use of literary devices

9.Examine use of literary elements within and among texts

10.Summarize major ideas and themes

11.Demonstrate fluency and comprehension

Part 1: Comparing and Contrasting Fairy Tales (Two weeks)

After completing shared reading of stories, students will be able to compare narrative elements of text. They will be able to answer questions, while critically considering each tale. Students will be able to analyze language and devices used and implications of the language. Students will be able to summarize tales and discuss theme. Resources include: Cinderella, Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, Cendrillion, Hansel and Gretel, and Frankie and Johnny. Students will be able to create a story using variants of some of the tales they study.

Part  2: Geography of West Africa and Southwest Philadelphia (One week)

Students will read maps and descriptions of areas. They will be able to follow routes on the maps and make assertions about areas. They will use map keys and coordinates. They will create a map for the place that corresponds to the story they created in the previous weeks.

Part 3: Spiders and Snakes (Two weeks)

Students will be able to read nonfiction texts describing the anatomy and survival skills of snakes and spiders. They were chosen because they are often found not only in fairy tales, but in folktales and creation stories. Students will be able to make inferences about the animals. They will be able to use prior ideas to make predictions. Students will relate new information to information already learned. Students will take this new information to create an informative essay on an animal. Students will also put new information into the story they created previously.

Part 4: History of West Africa (One Week)

Students will participate in shared reading on the land of West Africa (Ghana, Mali, Songhay, Benin), it’s history and the culture of its people. Students will make lists of group characteristics and find areas they have in common with these groups of people or responses. They will make inferences and draw conclusions using graphics and charts in the books and also using the charts they have created from reading and taking notes.

Part 5: Creation and Why Stories (Two Weeks)

Students will participate in shared and group reading of selected West African stories from The Cowtail Switch.  Students will compare story elements, especially plot. Students will trace plot on graphic organizers. They will make assertions and predictions about theme and moral. Students will write their own creation stories using nature and animals as a starting point.

Part 6: Storytelling (Two Weeks)

Students will practice storytelling. Students will interview family members to find a story that provokes an emotion for the audience. Students will foster speaking and listening skills while they work individually or in pairs. In culmination, students will tell stories in a class story slam that will be video taped, viewed, and critiqued.

Teaching Strategies

Teacher will activate prior knowledge to begin each part. Shared reading will incorporate think alouds and connection activities which may include completing of graphic organizers. During shared reading, students may complete pictures demonstrating mental images or they may read along in their copy of the reading. Shared reading will be followed by discussion on elements of genre and variants when applicable. Teacher led discussions following shared reading will compare elements and variants. Teacher will model and share writing to introduce writing activity. Student and student- teacher work will be displayed for student reference during workshop. Students will complete writing, hands-on activity or speaking activity in groups, partners or independently. Their activity will undergo the workshop process during which their work will be scrutinized by teachers, peers, and themselves. After this process, they will produce a “publishable” piece of work. During discussions, shared writing will include filling in story webs and organizers. During reading, students will follow along in their text or create mental images in notebooks. Teachers will model using elements from fairy tales and folktales to create stories. Diagrams and maps will be posted for reference. Extension of these classroom based activities will include research projects which can include researching African countries, African immigrants in Southwest Philadelphia, and migration booklets. Field trips can include African American Museums, African grocery stores and a African Community Centers.

Classroom Activities

Part 1: Comparing and Contrasting Fairy Tales

This course can be followed for different fairy tales. This course can be followed over the course of two weeks depending on how many fairly tales will be compared.

Activate Prior Knowledge:

Students will share their favorite stories and identify variants in their stories. After the first reading, students will identify a variant in the story they share with a partner or group.

Shared Reading:

Students will participate in shared reading in fairy tales. Series should begin with Cinderella from Brothers Grimm to show what the American standard story is that many people have heard. Second should be Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters for comparison, followed by Cendrillion for comparison. Hansel and Gretel by the Brothers Grimm should be compared to Katie and Johnny for comparison. Think alouds will center around identification of narrative elements, variants and student connection to these variants. The variant matrix will be completed during and after reading as a shared writing exercise. The variants suggested are: villain, forms of magic with animals, time and place (setting), punishment of villain, and foods. Teacher will begin matrix and students will complete it.

After reading activities:

Students will complete story maps for fairy tales. Students will complete their own matrix in pairs comparing two fairy tales of their own choice.

Writing Workshop:

Students will use the matrix to write their own fairy tale using two of the variants they completed in the matrix. Each of the parts of the workshop will be modeled for the students beginning with a graphic organizer that identifies the narrative elements, including the plot of their own fairy tale. Students will create a three paragraph narrative displaying understanding of beginning middle and end as they use their comparing and contrasting skills to create an original story using similar elements from the matrix.


Students’ narratives will be assessed using the writing rubric which contains: focus, content, organization, style, and conventions. Students understanding of objectives are also measured by summative assessments such as the WRAP, GATES and Benchmark. Students’ matrix will be graded based on the following components: completeness, understanding of text, correctly identifying variants in both tales, neatness, and presentations.

Part 2: Geography of West Africa and Southwest Philadelphia

This part can be followed over the course of one week. Students will use literacy skills to read maps and charts. They will apply knowledge they learn to create a map for the fictional setting they created in the fairy tale they wrote in the previous weeks and still may be working on.

Prior Knowledge: Students will be asked to sketch a map of their school. This will allow teacher to gauge the extent of the students’ knowledge base. The class can discuss the different maps created and use self assessment for their own maps to analyze what they could have done differently.

Shared Reading:

Think Alouds during shared reading will include teacher asking questions that students can answer with maps in groups or with think, pair and share. They should also be creating questions about what information they can find from analyzing the maps. Students will also create a map of a place they have been before such as a market, park, and museum. They will use this self created map, which can be done in pairs or groups if students have the same experience, to write narrative based on their sensory memories. Students will write descriptive narratives based on their experiences. This can possibly used later for the storytelling portion of this unit. This descriptive writing will be graded using the standard rubric of: focus, content, organization, style, and conventions.

After reading Activity:

Students create maps using the shared reading maps as a model. Advanced students can create street maps of Southwest Philadelphia or land maps of Africa from independent computer research. Students will create a map of the setting in the story they created in previous weeks using the variants from fairy tale discussions. These maps will be added as part of the story they created in a unit working portfolio. The map will be evaluated for proper map key and use of scale and space. This grade will serve literacy and Social Studies requirements.

Part 3: Snakes and Spiders

Students will participate in shared reading of nonfictional text. They will use the context clues to attack unfamiliar words. They will relate new information to what has already been learned. By this point students should have completed the narrative so they will be ready to participate in another writer’s workshop using the informative writing genre. Students will do further research on the snake or spider for this project. The research will include a model of the animal made from clay and painted.

Prior Knowledge:

Students will begin KWL chart recalling information they know about snakes or spiders.

Shared reading:

Students will complete shared reading of informational text. Think alouds will ask students to cross reference newly learned information with information they already know.  They can mark new information with post it notes.

After reading Activities:

Students will use internet research and encyclopedia information to complete Writer’s Workshop cycle (Modeled writing, conference writing, peer and self edit and publishing). The final product will be three paragraph informative essay on spiders or snakes and will be evaluated using the writing rubric discussed previously.

Part 4: History of West Africa

Students will participate in shared reading of the People of West Africa. They will make inferences and draw conclusions using cooperatively created charts. They will examine their own family history.

Prior Knowledge:

Students will free write about where they think their families came from. They will share their information to see what they have in common with another student. They will create Venn Diagrams describing similarities and differences.

Shared Readings:

During shared reading of History of West Africa, students will create bar graphs, pie graphs, and line graphs to show the different groups who have lived in West Africa, where they have lived and other variables that are discussed. They will also take outlines of notes.

After reading activities:

Students will be assigned groups to work on one of the sections of West Africa (Ghana, Mali, Songhay). Students will use notes to find main ideas of topics they outlined. They will respond individually and cooperatively using a strategy called “On the page, Off the page, Around the Page.” During this activity students will have three columns: One for information from the text, one for a response, and one from reading other responses. Students will complete their graphs and present them with along with answers to questions in which they draw conclusions based on graphs.

Extended Learning:

Students will participate in field trip to African American Museum on Ninth and the Arch streets in Philadelphia. Students will look for information that corroborates what they have learned in the previous lessons.

Part 5: Creation or Why Stories

Students will shared read, group read, and independently read selected stories from: The Cow-Tail Switch and Other West African Stories , The Adventures of Spider, West African Folktales. The selected stories will depend upon reading levels. Students will analyze elements of the stories

Prior Knowledge:

Students will brainstorm what they know about how things in nature came to be.

Shared Reading:

Students will shared read “Throw Mountains” and “Kaddo’s Wall.” Teacher will model matrix outlining elements of literature (plot, setting, characters, problem and solution).

After reading activities:

Students will answer questions which draw conclusions about the elements. Students will choose one of the stories to report on . Their report will include summary, figurative language, theme and a comic strip depicting the story.

Extended Learning:

Students will work cooperatively to read two more creation stories. They will create a matrix around the elements of literature. Teachers will work with students to create questions which ask for inferencing about the elements. Students will answer each other’s questions. Students will free write analyzing their thoughts on how they answered the questions. Example… “I knew the setting was important to the story because it took place in the desert and these animals can only live in the desert.”

Part 6: Storytelling

Students will understand that written word is derived from spoken word and that their ancestors lived in a world where storytelling was the center of entertainment. Storytelling will be used to show imagery, theme and morality.

Prior Knowledge:

Students will tell a story and what they learned from it in small groups.

Shared Storytelling:

Adults from the community will be invited to tell the class stories. Students will draw pictures during the storytelling to show the imagery. They will create figurative language (simile, idioms, metaphors, personification, onomatopoeia, alliteration) based on the ideas in the story. Students will identify theme of the story.

After reading activities:

Students will discuss family stories at home. They will decide on a family story to share with the class. The story must provoke an emotion or teach a lesson. Students will tell the story to the class. Students will write their story as well as what they learned from it. They will also choose another story from the folktales and fairy tales to compare and contrast their story to in a essay form.

After Unit Activity:

Students will also choose one country in Africa to research. Students will choose any story from the unit to perform dramatically.


Reading List:

 Abrahams, Roger. Afro American Folktales: Stories from Black Traditions in the New World. New York: Pantheon. (1999). Describes the storytelling tradition and the reasons and morals of the tales such as Trickster tales.

Bagban, Marcia. “Immigration in Childhood: Using Picture Books To Cope.” The Social       Studies. April 20March07: 71-76. Classroom materials that are relevant to the         social and cultural experiences children generate interest in and enthusiasm for        learning.

Cobb, Edith. The Ecology of Imagination in Childhood. 1993 [1977]. Dallas: Spring Publications. 1993 [1977].Cobb examines the child’s developmental cognition.

Ferger, Mary Virginia. “I Want To Read: How Culturally Relevant Texts Increase           Student Engagement in Reading.” Multi Cultural Education. Spring 2006: 18-19.         Language and identity are inseparable and should be used to provide students with       an opportunity to explore bicultural identities.

Hufford, Mary, ed. From West Africa to West Philadelphia: Storytelling Traditions of Philadelphia’s Liberian Elders. Philadelphia: U of Penn. 2008. This is a compilation of stories with morals and creation stories which were told by African elders in their Philadelphia community center.

Hunsberger, Phil. “Where Am I? A Call for Connectedness in Literacy.”

Reading Research Quarterly. September 2007. This article discusses the   importance of understanding the cultural background of students and references           Dreamkeepers: Teachers of African American Children as a tool for teaching the             whole student.

Lancy, David, F. Playing on the Mother Ground: Cultural Routines for Children’s Development. 1996. New York: Guilford Press. 1996. African enculturation is explored and discussed in reference to child development.

Martin, Brenda. “Culturally Responsive Teaching: A Review of Research and            Literature.” U.S. Department of Education. (1997): 1-37. 22 July 2009. Martin uses research      to support the idea that culturally responsive curricula come from a knowledge base that understands culture and teachers must recognize the importance of empowering students.

Porter, Jane. “Reflections of Life Through Books.” National Council of Teachers of     English. Las Vegas, Nevada.1971. Paper Presentation. Teachers should select            books that create a positive self image and increase social sensitivity in order to foster better human relationships.

Tartar, Maria, ed. The Classic Fairy Tales. New York: W.W. Norton &Company, 1999.

Describes and gives different cultural examples of six different tale types. Also                       contains criticism on aspects of the tales.

Zipes, Jack. Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion. New York: Routledge, 2006. Zipes           questions and confirms the effect that fairy tales have had on people and society.

Teaching Resources:

 Diaz-Rico, Lynne. Teaching English Learners: Strategies and Methods. Boston: Pearson          Education, 2004. Covers second language acquisition techniques with attention to         cultural practices in education.

McCarthy, William Bernard. Cinderella in America. Jackson: University of Michigan, 2007. This is an anthology of fairytales and folktales from the many cultures of the United States. This anthology contains the aforementioned “Katie and Johnny” as well as other classroom friendly tales for comparison.

Parker- Webster, Joan. Teaching Through Culture. Houston: Arte Publico, 2002. Specific           culturally relevant texts are discussed at length with instructions on how to use           them in the classrooms with young adults.

Student Resources: 

Berry, Jack. West African Folk Tales. Illinois: Northwestern University, 1991. This is a             larger collection of oral traditions of folklore. Rich vocabulary for read alouds and          discussion about conflicts among characters.

Bowen-Zemser, Amy. Beyond the Mango Tree. New York: Harper, 1998. Fictional            account of American girl who lives in Liberia and befriends a Liberian family.

Cooper – Arkhurst, Joyce. The Adventures of Spider. New York: Scholastic, 1992.         Shorter stories in which main character spider gets in and out of trouble. Written on fourth grade reading level.

Courander, Harold and Herzog, George. The Cow Tail Switch and Other West African   Stories. New York: Henry Holt and Co, 1947. This Newbery Honor book contains           folktales and creation stories that allow for inferencing about the clever            characters.

Diagram Group. History of West Africa. New York: Facts on File, 2003. Organized by chapter under three sections of West Africa and its history. This text contains      graphics, timelines, and maps.

Gism, Melissa. Let’s Investigate Snakes. Mankato: Creative Paperbacks, 2001.   Nonfiction text describing lives of snakes with graphics and captions on fourth       grade reading level.

Murawski, Darlyne. Spiders and Their Webs. Washington D.C.: National Geographic     Society, 2004. Discusses different types of spiders in child centered text with       heavy photos and graphics.

Steptoe, John. Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books,           1987. Fairy tale in the tradition of Cinderella which tells of an evil sister pitted       against a good sister to gain the love of a prince.