study of the Cinderella story
This is a language arts activity practiced
during a 90-minute literacy block.
Students read different versions of the Cinderella fairy tale.
This lesson will address literature
standards by demonstrating their reading and comprehension skills
through comparing and contrasting different interpretations of the
- Books - Disney's Cinderella,
The Rough Face Girl, Yeh-Shen, and Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters.
- Large chart paper or white board.
Before reading each story, we made
a KWL chart
K What do we know about Cinderella?
W What do we think will happen?
L What have we learned?
We began answering K and W, so the children would later be able
to refer to this information.
We began with Disney's
Cinderella, because I thought that the children
would be most familiar with it. After reading, we made character
webs that described each character's attributes.
The second book I
read to the class was The Rough Face Girl, a
Native American tale similar to Cinderella. We
created another character web for each character and talked
about the book.
We used Venn diagrams
to compare characters in order to help the class with their
final assignment. We compared Disney's Cinderella
character to the Native American The Rough Face Girl.
The differences between the two characters' went to the edge
of the diagram, and their similarities were highlighted in the
center. Some differences that were apparent were the environment,
Cinderella's hidden beauty behind ragged clothes vs. Rough Face
Girl's hidden beauty behind a burned face. Common factors we
discovered were that both Cinderella and Rough Face Girl have
mean sisters, they were both initially sad, and both girls eventually
experience a happy ending.
The third book in
the study was called Yeh-Shen, which is a Chinese
version of Cinderella. After reading this book, we made yet
another character web. By this time, the children really began
to see the similarities and differences among the stories, and
we talked about these various traits. The children first noticed
the differences among the characters, but they soon began to
identify similarities. I asked questions that further encouraged
this type of critical thinking. I asked, "From our character
webs, what can we tell about Yeh-Shen?" and "What are similar
traits that all three characters share?"
The final book in
the study was Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, an
African version of the story, involving two sisters and a father.
I had students fill out
a comparison chart that I created for all four books. The chart
was divided into four sections, one for each book. Beside each character's
name, the children wrote two corresponding attributes. The children
wrote a paragraph about which book was their favorite and why. We
returned to the KWL chart and answered L (What have
we learned?) as a group.
These assignments went
into their writing portfolios as one of their demonstrated responses