5 Fractured Fairy Tales Activities to Boost Comprehension

Inside: Five ways to use fractured fairy tales activities to practice comprehension standards

Growing up, I heard all the fairy tales: Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf …

I loved these stories, but I didn’t know there was another side to most of them.

What if the Big Bad Wolf wasn’t so bad?

What if it was the bear that ventured into Goldilock’s house?

And what if, instead of three little pigs, there were three little fish?

Once I became exposed to fractured fairy tales, I knew I had to find ways to utilize them in my classroom. After reading many books and trying many lessons (some more successful than others), I am convinced that integrating fractured fairy tales activities is a great way to make comprehension lessons more engaging.

After all, who wouldn’t want an opportunity to cheer for the wolf?

This post shares five engaging fractured fairy tale activities
Get ready to open the magic of fractured fairy tales!

Why Fractured Fairy Tales?

Fractured fairy tales offer a fresh twist on traditional stories.

Here’s why I love them.

  • They are perfect for comparing and contrasting.
  • Unique story elements keep kids guessing.
  • Surprise twists encourage students to re-evaluate their predictions.
  • My students eat them up!

Below are five fractured fairy tales along with suggestions on how to incorporate them into your comprehension lessons.

Choosing Fractured Fairy Tales Activities

There are many opportunities to integrate fractured fairy tales activities into your comprehension lessons. When choosing your activities remember to align them to comprehension standards, keep it fun, and remind students not to trust wolves no matter how convincing they may be.

This list of fractured fairy tales and activities can be implemented in different grade levels, allowing flexibility in the depth of thinking.

Bonus: For even more fractured fairy tale activities, make sure to check out the freebie at the end of this post!

1. Role Reversal

Godilocks and just one bear is a great book for fractured fairy tale activities involving role reversal.

Just when students were sure that it was Goldilocks that invaded the three bears’ house, along comes Goldilocks and Just One Bear.  In this story, one bear gets lost in the city and enters Goldilocks’ home.  Just like Goldilocks in the original story, the bear tries to make himself at home.  However, problems arise when this bear tries several different objects in unique ways (a cactus for a chair and a bathtub for a bed).  

Try it: Use a Venn diagram, or maps of the homes to compare this story to the original. For added fun, try “this not that” structure in your comparisons.

Standards: RL.1.9, RL.2.9, RL.3.9

2. Change of Setting

This book provides the perfect opportunity for fractured fairy tales activities involving setting.

The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark is ideal for teaching the importance of setting.  This book takes the familiar story of The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf and places it in the ocean.  The overall storyline remains unchanged. However, there are some definite changes such as crunching and munching instead of huffing and puffing.  You’ll also find houses of seaweed and sand replacing hay and sticks.  What will the third little fish come up with to keep that shark away? Read the book to find out!

Try it: List the ways that the setting change affected the story. Or try making a comic with a fairy tale in a new setting.

Standards: RL.1.3, RL.2.7, RL.3.7, RL.4.3

3. A Different Point of View

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs tells the classic story from the Wolf's point of view. Students will enjoy comparing and contrasting this story to the original.

The wolf is innocent!  At least that’s what he says.  The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs tells the story from the wolf’s point of view.  All he wanted was a cup of sugar to make a cake for his sweet grandmother.  It’s not his fault that the pigs were rude, he had a cold, and the pigs made poor choices when building their houses.   Students will learn how to listen to another’s point of view before making any judgments.

Try it: Have students take the wolf to “court” and make arguments about whether or not the wolf is guilty.

Standards: RL.1.9, RL.2.7, RL.3.3, RL.3.6, RL.4.3

4. A Change of Character

This book definitely needs to be in your list of fractured fairy tales.

What I like most about Little Red Cowboy Hat is the anti-stereotypical grandma. In this version of Little Red Riding Hood, Little Red does not change very much. However, your students will love the new empowered, self-sufficient grandma. Grandma steals the show by becoming the hero, rescuing Little Red, and making sure that pesky wolf stays away for good!

Try it: Take a close look at Grandma. Compare and contrast her physical appearance and/or character traits with the grandma in the original story. Have students act out the differences.

Standards: RL.1.3, RL.1.9, RL.2.3, RL.2.9, RL.3.3, RL.4.3

5. Just Right Books

This book is perfect for encouraging students to find just right books and a just right place to read.

I have used this book for as long as I can remember at the beginning of the year to introduce finding “just right” books and a “just right” place to read.  In Goldisocks and the Three Libearians, Goldisocks enters the three bears’ house just like in the original story. However, her goal is much different. Her search is for the perfect book and the perfect place to read it.  The ending is my favorite part. All the characters enjoy reading together. this is a great book to stress the importance of finding just right books.

Try it: Have students bring in pictures from home of themselves reading in their favorite place (or take pictures at school).

Standards: Knowing yourself as a reader is one of the most important precursors to mastering all the comprehension standards.

You Pick

The best part about these activities is they can be used with a variety of fractured fairy tales. You can find an abundance of stories with changes in setting, character, and point of view.

Not sure where to start? You can ask your school librarian, seek out a trusted colleague, or start with one of these recommendations.

Your students will start to look at characters like the three pigs in a completely new way. Or maybe I should say the three little fish.

Get ready to see a lot of smiles, feel your students’ anticipation, and hear gasps of surprise!

Put it in Writing

When it’s time to do a more formal comprehension assessment, I turn to graphic organizers. The visual layouts help students organize information and allow me to easily assess understanding.

You will find five helpful graphic organizers in my FREE Fractured Fairy Tales Activities Bundle.

As a bonus, I also included a STEM activity.

By filling out the form below, you can have all of these activities delivered straight to your inbox.

  • A Venn diagram to compare and contrast different fairy tales
  • An organizer to help explain the importance of the setting, whether it’s in the woods, ocean, or outer space
  • An organizer to describe characters from the naive little fish to the sly wolf
  • A comparison chart to look at a variety of different versions of a fairy tale.
  • An organizer to show the unique pop of magic in each fairy tale.
  • BONUS: A STEM activity with paper airplanes – a surefire winner for your students!

Do you have a favorite fractured fairy tale? If so, please leave it in the comments.

Related Posts

Please share your thoughts.

Teaching blogger for elementary teachers

Mary Wingert, licensed educator (K-12 Special Ed. & 1-8 General Ed)

I started teaching in 1993.   I have taught special education, fifth grade, and fourth grade.  I moved to second grade in 2015, and I am still there today.  

I believe in teaching strategies that are effective, differentiated, and engaging. I am looking forward to building a community of teachers who feels the same!  Read more here.