Teaching Strategies using Traditional Literature

Teaching Strategies using Traditional Literature

In some ways, I guess you could say I have spoiled my students with great literature because on the days we don’t read at least one chapter I see their disappointed expressions. I began to think about this “problem” and decided that I could teach skills with short, traditional literature. These include well-known stories my students knew and loved. This way my focus could be on skill development and not comprehension.

Click here to go to Teachers Pay Teachers for this free unit.

Teaching Strategies using Tom Sawyer

One of the first projects I came up with was using the story of Tom Sawyer. We read a very condensed picture book version of the story. Students became newspaper reporters and wrote articles about three of the events in the story: “Murder in the Graveyard,” “Muff Potter Found Innocent at Trial,” and “Children Lost in Cave.” Each student created his/her own newspaper. This project covered so many skills, namely non-opinion writing, text features, and technology. [Each student created a newspaper using Publisher.] My students were so proud of their finished newspapers. We displayed them on a hall bulletin board for other classes and parents to see.

Example of a Student Written Newpaper
Example of a Student Written Newpaper

Teaching Strategies using Beauty and the Beast

I began thinking about similar projects we could do that didn’t include reading a novel. One idea I decided to try was teaching story elements with fairy tales. Pictured is the only surviving photo of the project. This activity took place years ago before I started an educational blog or was creating materials for Teachers pay Teachers. I didn’t take near as many pictures then. Here again, my students loved the project.

Beauty and the Beast Story Map

Teaching Strategies using Cinderella

Free Cinderella Unit for Upper Elementary Grades

Since these two projects were so successful, I created additional units based on picture books as well as short stories. I mix these in with my novel studies to “shake things up a bit.” They have been extremely popular with my students. This series of short stories with skill lessons is an expansion of those projects.  

This free item is just a “taste” of what the full units are like. The full units are 5 days long with approximately 1200 to 1500 words [about 10 minutes] of reading daily. The full units also contain 3 skill lessons.


This “sample” is not repeated in any unit. Instead, it is a 2-day version [one fairy tale and one skill] of the longer units. I hope your students enjoy the story, skill practice, and activity. Click here to go to Teachers Pay Teachers for this free unit.

Free Cinderella Book Unit cover CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.7 and CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.7



Gay Miller @ Book Units Teacher

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