Analyzing Storytelling Elements in Fairytales

LESSON: Analyzing Storytelling Elements in Fairytales

Content Area(s): Language Arts, History

Serra, 2011

Questions to Consider:

  • How does changing the character, setting, or actions in a story change the plot and/or theme of the story?
  • In what ways do authors choose to alter classic tales?
  • What might be the motivation for making these changes?


Begin with a KWL chart to establish what students already know about LRRH. After reading a traditional version of LRRH, students will map key events using a plot diagram as they identify primary storytelling elements. Students will repeat the activity using a retelling of the story and then discuss the ways in which the the changes in characters, setting, or actions impacted the central themes and plot of the story.

Creating new versions of Little Red Riding Hood:

Adaptations and Extensions:

  • Middle and high school students may wish to examine how the changes made to the text may have an implied (or explicit) social, political or cultural purpose.  
  • Middle and high school students may work in small groups, each examining a different retelling of the story.  After discussing the changes within their group, they may report out to the class, prompting discussion as to the various approaches authors and illustrators took in retelling the tale.
  • While students are often accustomed to the storytelling structures found in western European cultures, other cultures approach storytelling very differently. Students may research the various ways in which storytelling is taken up in other cultures and search for tales alternative approaches to the dominant storytelling structures.

Suggested texts:

Elementary: Little Red Riding Hood by Paul Galdone; Little Red Riding Hood by John S. Goodall; Little Red Riding Sheep by Linda Lodding, Illustrated by Cale Atkinson; Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf by Catherine Storr

Middle: Little Red Riding Hood by Beni Montresor; Red Riding Hood by James Marshall; Little Red by Bethan Woolvin; Rotkäppchen by Adolfo Serra; Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf by Catherine Storr

Secondary: The Story of Little Red Riding Hood illustrated by Christopher Bing; The Girl in Red by Aaron Frisch; Little Red Hood by Tony Ross; Petite Rouge by Mike Artell; Grandaunt Tiger by Jane R. Willson; Lon Po Po by Ed Young; Pretty Salma: A Little Red Riding Hood Story from Africa by Niki Daly; Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf by Catherine Storr

Analyzing Storytelling Elements in Fairytales