Fables

Why do this project?

If you read the fables… you will know something about the person who writes them, and I like that. Secondly, they will not be about individuals; they will be about community. Thirdly, they’re all about moralizing. Fourthly, the way they express themselves takes its tone from the oral tradition. – Jim Crace

We often tell each other cautionary tales of mishaps, near misses and comeuppances where we have had to learn a lesson the hard way. Perhaps, like me, you learnt that you really should not play with scissors after you accidentally almost cut your friend’s finger off! We might also remember our grandparents, parents, teachers and people in authority telling us stern warning stories. Children can’t escape fables!

Historically though, fables have been the main way of socialising children into the norms of society. Some of those stories are new and original, while others have been told and loved by people across the ages. Many tales are still told and retold today because of their universal messages and because they are short, snappy and easy to remember.

Writing fables with children gives them the opportunity to communicate a message or moral in an entertaining way, building narratives from their own experience of being told what to do (and what not to do) and how to behave with and around others. They can then share these fables with their friends, younger children or even foolish parents! Furthermore, children get to express a little bit of themselves in their stories. Writing fables, alongside our Fairytale writing project, gives children in year three a strong basis for future story writing.

You might want your class to look at how fables are part of their lives. When do they hear fables, and from whom – their grandparents, parents, teachers or friends? Do they tell cautionary tales to the people they know? Allow children to identify the elements that make fables so popular and discuss where they can be found within our lives today.

This class writing project provides you with:

+ Comprehensive teacher notes:

  • Suggestions for both year group and whole school writing progression
  • Advice for teachers on how to write great mentor texts
  • Over thirty-five writing study and functional grammar mini-lessons
  • Suggested book list for your classroom library

+ Our popular and photocopiable child-facing Genre Booklet which includes:

  • Year 3 purpose and audience writing wheel
  • Publishing and performance menu
  • 5 exemplar texts
  • Idea generation techniques
  • Dabbling and drafting advice
  • Revision checklist
  • Editing checklist

+ Our quick guide to teaching writing

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