There are so many different types of children’s literature. It can be hard to distinguish between them and what books are from what type of literature. Do you know what category Johnny Appleseed falls under or The Tortoise and the Hare? I have to admit that if I weren’t an English major, I would have a difficult time with this very thing.
Learn the differences between what a tall tale is and what a fable is; these FREE printables about tall tales and fables will help you teach them both.
Fairy tales, fables, tall tales, and folktales – they are all similar in some ways. All of these types of stories fall under or are a sub-genre to what we know as folklore.
Basically, folklore is a type of story passed down orally from person to person. They share many common themes. One common thing between them, if you haven’t noticed, is that they have no author – at all.
What is a tall tale?
A tall tale is a unique hero story where the hero or main character has a “larger than life” persona. It is an exaggeration and an unreliable narrative. The tall tales can be of real-life events that are ordinary but then be made as fantastic and grandiose.
Tall tales became famous around the 1800s in America. It was around the time that the Americas hadn’t been settled by the Europeans yet. American frontiersman would sit around campfires at night to tell tales of amazing heroes in wildlands/the Wild West.
The stories were said to be told over and over until the stories got so big that they were utterly implausible. Yup! They were too incredible.
Examples of tall tales are the stories of the gigantic Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, John Henry, and Johnny Appleseed.
What is a fable?
Fables tales are short symbolic or metaphoric stories that teach lessons or have a moral point to show the reader. The characters are usually personified animals with prominent characteristics that speak and act like humans.
A fable is most similar to a myth, except the fable teaches a lesson and is cleverly written to do just that. This genre may be most familiar to your kids. Maybe it is because we teach character building through them.
Examples of fables are Aesop’s Fables (The Fox and the Grapes, The Lion and the Mouse, The Wolf and the Crane, and more), The Tortoise and the Hare, The Fox and the Crow, and The Boy Who Cried Wolf.
Why teach fables and tall tales in your homeschool?
I could be biased because I love literature. Of course, I think it’s important to teach both tall tales and fables to our children. Both help kids learn about culture, appreciate tradition, help kids to learn to love stories and storytelling.
It is easy to understand why fables should be told to our children. Fables do all of the above and model good moral character or teach our children how to develop it. They teach about how humans can fall short. They are simple for kids to read and understand.
But why teach tall tales? Don’t we spend a lot of our time teaching kids NOT to tell tall tales, not to lie?
Well, tall tales do have a place in our literature journey at home. Tall tales are fun, simple for kids to read, and spark critical thinking skills just like fables. Kids learn to respond to tall tales and write about some of their own. Tall tales combine fact and fiction; they describe a hero’s character and can encourage your young ones not to give up.
Grab these FREE printables about tall tales and fables to help you with your literature lessons in your homeschool:
FREE Printables on Tall Tales
Printable FREE Template to Write a Tall Tale | Layers of Learning
Tall Tales Word Search | Monster Word Search
FREE Tall Tale Characteristics Charts | Our Wonderful Journey
Folktale /Tall Tale Anchor Charts FREEBIE | Barnard Island
FREEBIE: Tall Tales Notebooking Pages | Notebooking Nook
Teaching Tall Tales for FREE | Education.com
FREE Tall Tale Resources | First Grade A La Carte
Tall Tale FREE Wheel | Tall Tale Wheel
CKLA FREE Tall Tales Exaggeration Extension | Ms Duffys Dream
FREE Printables on Tall Tales in Literature
Paul Bunyan FREE Reading Lesson on Hyperbole and Pop-up Book | Teaching Ideas For Those Who Love Teaching
Paul Bunyan FREE Worksheet | Educaiton.com
Tall Tale Annie Oakley FREEBIE | First Grade Hip Hip Hooray
Pecos Bill FREE Worksheet | Education.com
John Henry Tall Tale FREE Worksheet | Education.com
FREE Davy Crockett Readers Theater Tall Tales (Twisted)-Davy Crockpot-Grades 3-6 | Readers Theater Fast and Funny Fluency
Johnny Appleseed Story FREE Worksheet | Education.com
Tall Tale Books to Read: (Keep scrolling for more Freebies!)
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FREE Printables About Fables
Fables Word Search FREEBIE | Inspired Elementary
Write Your Own Fable FREEBIE |Everyone Deserves to Learn
Fables FREE Multiple Choice Test (Determining Theme) | Amber Thomas
FREE Aesop’s Fables Lapbook Set | Homeschool Share
Various Fable FREEBIES | Mrs Dietrich
Aesop’s Fables Collection (FREE Worksheets) | Squarehead Teachers
Recommended Resource: Fables & Fairy Tales Literacy Unit
FREE Printables on Fables in Literature
Aesop Fables Worksheets Packet: Belling The Cat FREE Printables | Real Life at Home
Classic Literature: Aesop’s The Fox and the Stork | K12 Reader
Fable FREEBIE: The Ant and the Grasshopper | Jan Gervais
FREE LANGUAGE ARTS LESSON – “Fable Freebie The Tortoise and The Hare” | The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs
The Tortoise and the Hare – FREE Fable Reading Response Packet | Raki’s Rad Resources
The Tortoise and the Hare FREE Maze | Muse Printables
FREE The Hare and the Tortoise Writing Template | Teaching Ideas
Readers Response Packet for The Tortoise and the Hare | Classroom Freebies
The Hare and The Tortoise Story and Free Printable | Scribble Shore
The Hare and the Tortoise – FREE Worksheet Pack | Purland Training
The Lion and The Mouse FREE Emergent Reader | Sherri Cheshire
Mouse and Lion FREE Shape Tracing Strips |Preschool Play and Learn
The Lion and the Mouse FREE Worksheet | iSLCOLLECTIVE
The Little Red Hen Activities and FREE Printables | A Little Pinch of Perfect
The Fox and the Crow Readers’ Theater | Primary Delight
Andy and The Life FREE Printable Graphic Organizer | As We Walk Along the Road
Fable Books to Read:
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Both tall tales and fables are worth teaching. They are introductions to fiction writing, reading, and can make it all fun for your kids from an early age.
To help your kids fill in all of their thoughts on what they have been reading or learning about with fables and tall tales, check out all of these FREE graphic organizers for reading and literature. They are great for your visual learners.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!