How to Use Fairy Tales in a 5th-Grade​ Classroom

 You probably heard by now that picture books are amazing to use during mini-lessons. I’m here to tell you that it’s true. I fell in love with picture books a few years ago, and I’m not turning back. I really love the idea of opening a child’s mind using a picture book.  I’m often asked is how in the world do I use fairy tales in 5th grade?

Books to use in a 5th grade classroom


Fairy Tales in a 5th Grade Classroom

Using fairytales in fifth grade is not a new concept. Albert Einstein once said, “If you want your child to be intelligent, read them fairytales.” This is one of the reasons why I decided to make one of my entire unit all about fairytales.

What kind of books can you use for fairytales?

When I first begin the year, I teach about fairytales, I actually teach them the real fairytale. The reason why I do this is because Disney teaches them a fractured fairytale. We want them to understand the real fairytale. I like to teach the real story of the Little Mermaid, the real story of Rapunzel, and the real story of Rumpelstiltskin.

A book to use when you are teaching about fairy tales.


A great book to use when teaching fairy tales.

How does this benefit the students?

Reading a real fairy tale teaches the students the real story about the story. The students were able to understand the real story and compare it to the Disney made up version. Now, I do have to make sure the student understands that not all fairytales are nice. Especially The Little Mermaid. The (original) Little Mermaid is all about her not getting her happy ending. In fact, she ends up dying and becomes part of the ocean.

Fairytales show the students that there are problem-solving skills in the story. It shows that there are problems and sometimes you don’t always solve your story (immediately or ever). Fairy Tales also build resilience in children. They teach the basics of a story, so starting off the year is a great way to remind them of basic foundations. Not only does it teach them the basics, but it also has cultural literacy responsibilities. It gives emphasis on cross-cultural values and even behaviors. These fairytales will teach us right from wrong, it boosts the child’s imagination and they will develop critical thinking skills.

Fractured Fairy Tales in 5th Grade

The next part is that you can do allow the students to read fractured fairytales. Fractured fairy tales are so much fun! They are actually one of my favorite things in my classroom to read. And the reason why is because the students think they’re funny… and they really are. The students see the story from a different point of view. In a typical fairy tale, the author always tells the story from the heroes’ point of view, however, in a fractured fairytale, it tells from the villain’s point of view. 

Support your readers by understanding the different sides of Rumplestiltskin in this fractured fairy tale


Support your students with reading response questions

I love reading the books from the series like the story of so-and-so by the villain. This is because it’s just such a different perspective and it’s quite funny. I started reading Honestly, Red Riding Hood was Rotten! I use this book because it comes from the wolves perspective. The wolf really shows you how self-centered little Red Riding Hood is. It shows you that she really is rotten and it shows you the different pieces of his story and that maybe she was taunting him.  Of course, I did not read Red Riding Hood at the beginning of the year. However, I think it was really important for the students to know it and they can easily refer back to that story since hearing it so many times.

My favorite (fractured) fairy tales!

One of my favorites to read to the students is the Rapunzel story. Now you remember that I read the original Rapunzel story, now I get to read it from the dames’ point of view. This second fractured fairytale is Really Rapunzel Needed a Haircut! The book goes through how pretty much the father gave the dame the baby because his wife was craving radishes. The book will go through how Rapunzel is obsessed with her looks, makes her “mother” bring up very heavy things like mirrors up to her… and then tell her it’s not enough. You can see how the dame goes slightly crazy, and why it might be well deserved (in this version). The students will make their own judgements based on these character traits.

Fractured Fairy Tales in 5th Grade Benefits

This allows the students to have a total shakeup with their reading. Of course, there are so many different fractured fairytales out there and if you go read the stories- guess what-they are then going to look for more fractured fairytales. Some of my favorites our Lon Po Po, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, and Trust me Jack’s Bean Stalk Stinks.

Fairy Tale Chapter Books

Fairy tales are a fantastic way to open a door to so many different books. One thing I learned about 5th graders is that they want to read fairy tales but may become embarrassed. Setting this up at the beginning of the year allows the kids to read some AMAZING fairy tale books like The Wishing Spell.

The Land of Stories found on Amazon

Another fantastic series to use is by Liesl Shurtliff. She has written some amazing chapter books like Rump, Grump, and Red. These books become a staple in my room once I finish reading Rump to the students. The students no longer have to worry about being made fun of for reading a fairy tale. They are discussing the books in depth and pushing their thinking because they are also working on that prior knowledge skills.

Incorporating More Fairy Tales in 5th Grade

Now I bet you are all wondering how do I incorporate more of this in my reading block? That’s a hard question.

Well to start off  I know what I want to teach and then I search for the books. I focus on the skill that is going to be targeted and then I search for all of the books!. The search process takes HOURS. Lucky for you- you don’t have to search very hard for the books. You can just purchase them at the link and then use the Dive into Reading Units to guide your lessons.

How to save yourself some time

In this Dive Into Reading Unit, you will get so much help in your reading block. In Unit 1 – Dive Into Reading you will get 20 days worth of reading lessons along with 20 days of read-aloud questions. The lessons are already done for you and all you have to do is purchase the books that correlate with the lesson. The lessons are progressive and you will move through all the standards over the year.

Just wait…there’s more.

Not only do you get 20 lessons for a month but you also get 20 days worth of questions for the read-aloud. You will be provided with questions to ask the class, turn and talk questions, and even read aloud questions. The read-aloud questions can be put onto Avery labels and printed for the students. Here’s helpful hint- tell the kids to put their finger in the air when you are passing it out to save some time for you!** My newest favorite thing is printing out a week’s worth of questions on the premade template and GO! I also put a template that you can use to print post-it notes so all of the questions at your finger tips. These questions go from lower to higher order questions.

Your questions from the fairy tale Rump can be printed on post it notes.


Pre-made template to ask during read aloud time!

 The Dive Into Reading has saved my life. When I am stressed or worried (or have an impromptu observation)- you know what I do? I rely on my questions. I rely on Dive Into Reading lesson plans and questions. These lessons and questions have saved my life and my time more than you will ever know.

Your vocabulary words from the fairy tale are already done for you! Don't stress about how much you have to do-especially when I've done it for you.

I no longer stay late after school because all of the questions are done for me.

I no longer worry what I am going to have to teach the next week because it is done for me!

Want to reduce your stress?

You can also check out my post all about figurative language for 5th grade! This will help you when you are working on figurative language!

If you are looking for a way to reduce your stress and have effective reading lessons then go to my TeachersPayTeachers Store.

Unit 1- Dive Into Reading - fairy tales found on TeachersPayTeachers


Unit 1- Dive Into Reading

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