Folktales in Zooburst

The Common Core State Standards require that students are exposed to fiction and nonfiction texts. I do Interactive Read Alouds with my students in grades K-5 to allow them to not only hear me demonstrate my thinking about text, but to also give them time to turn and talk, stop and jot on Post Its, and to have an opportunity to conduct themselves as reflective readers.  During April, I knew that my school’s third graders were studying folktales and focusing on the following CCSS:

RL 3.2. Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.

My school’s fabulous Media Specialist shares Anansi folktales with our second graders each year and other folktales with other grades.  I approached her and asked about the folktales that she had shared with third graders this year.  Currently, she has read aloud to third graders the following folktales books:

The Little Red Hen Makes A Pizza by Philemon Sturges

Teeny Weeny Bop by Margaret Read McDonald

Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile by Won-Ldy Paye and Margaret H. Lippert

Lon Po Po by Ed Young

The Hunterman and the Crocodile by Baba Wague Diakite

She gave me the idea to read aloud a book that was new to me when my third graders come to the Computer Lab.  It is “Soap!  Soap!  Don’t Forget the Soap!” retold by Tom Birdseye.  It is an Appalachain folktale about a forgetful little boy who was sent on an errand to get soap.  He runs into distractions along the way causing him to forget his original mission.  As he meets new characters along the road, he is orally reciting the sentence that the previous character told him so that he would not forget it.  Unfortunately, the sentence that he is reciting is heard by a new character and misunderstood causing the new character to respond to the boy which causes the reader to see humor and how one thing can lead to another.  After he interacts with the final character along the road, he remembers that his mom sent him on an errand to get some soap.  He returns home with the soap, is scrubbed down by his mom and never forgets anything else again.

I will be reading aloud this book to my third graders after Spring Break.  I plan to have them determine the message of the story while exploring the details of the story.  Students will also analyze the boy’s actions to explore his character traits.

I will have students locate text references using the following prompts about characters:

The writer tells us directly…

The writer tells us the words that the character speaks…

The writer tells us the character’s thoughts and feelings….

The writer tells us the character’s actions (what the character does)…

The writer tells us how others react to the character….

If you could rename the book, what would you call it?  Give examples from the text to support your new title.

How does ______’s actions change what happens in the story?  Give a detail from the text to support your answer.

Describe how ______ changes from the beginning of the story to the end of the story.  Support your answer with a detail from the story.

Describe one of ______’s character traits.  Give a detail from the story to support your answer.

I plan to have them listen to another folktale at called “Knots on a Counting Rope” and analyze it using the same character prompts that I wrote in this post.

After they have analyzed both books’ characters, key details, and themes, I will have them compare and contrast the two books using the Venn Diagram app or web based version at  They will publish their Venn Diagrams on their blogs and comment on each others’ blog postings.

Finally, I plan to have them use Zooburst which is an app and a website at  It allows students to create digital pop up books where the character rises up from the page.  They will add text and characters as they recount on of their favorite folktales that they read in their. Lass, with the a Media Specialist, or in the Computer Lab with me. These Zooburst Books are also known as Augmented Reality books because the images are three dimensional and add interest to text as each page is turned.

Two other folktales that I plan to share are “Fire On the Mountain” and “The Greatest Treasure”. These two books provide readers with rich settings, characters and themes. Some of my students created Zooburst Pop Up Books last year using these two folktales as their sources. Visit the direct links below to see examples of how students recounted events from the books and determined the themes.


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