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Teaching Traditional Tales in KS1 and LKS2

Suzie Hunt By Suzie Hunt

Key stage 1 and lower key stage 2 children love the familiarity of traditional tales and fables, and they make for the perfect springboard into teaching literacy skills.

Traditional tales and fables make great starting texts for English lessons, as they are often simply constructed with repetitive patterns that are accessible and appealing to children. They provide wonderful opportunities for story telling and dramatic re-enactment. In addition, their structure allows teachers to demonstrate sequencing and the identification of narrative components, such as beginning, middle and end.

Hamilton provide flexible blocks based around traditional tales for Year 1, Year 2, Year 3 and Year 4 English. As all of our blocks do, these start with a core session introducing an engaging text or texts that we know will excite and inspire children. Teachers then select further teaching from units focussed around comprehension, SPaG and composition. Every unit, including the core, is fully self-sufficient, but they also work together to produce elegantly integrated sequences of lessons that reinforce each other.

Hamilton's English lesson planning includes differentiated activities for your class and beautifully designed worksheets and resources. In addition, our SPaG-focussed sessions include teaching PowerPoints that walk children through key SPaG concepts.

Traditional Tales for Year 1

Sharing and Retelling – Year 1 children read Dragon Dinosaur, The House that Jack Built, Anancy and Mr Dry-Bone and Chicken Licken.

Fairy Tales – Year 1 children explore Cinderella, Snow White and the Billy Goats Gruff. Tell new versions of traditional tales inspired by Snow White in New York by Fiona French.


Traditional Tales for Year 2

Explore Brilliant Fables! (FREE) – Year 2 children explore fables, including Frog and Scorpion, Ant and Grasshopper, and more. Write dialogue between grasshopper's indignant sister and cruel ant. Look at compound sentences and write a fable. All the sessions in this English block are available for free download to all.

Traditional Tales for Year 3

Arthurian Legends – Year 3 children find out about Arthurian legends through Marcia Williams’ King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Traditional Tales from India - Year 3 children read Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian stories and explore different versions of traditional tales.

Roman Myths – Year 3 children explore myths using Marcia Williams’ The Romans: Gods, Emperors & Dormice and Hamilton Group Reader Romulus and Remus.


Traditional Tales for Year 4

Fairy Tales and Playscripts – Year 4 children use versions of The Princess and the Pea to compare and write fairy tales with an alternative point of view.

Aesop's Fables – Year 4 children read Rosen's Aesop's Fables. Explore dialogue through drama, debate moral messages and write letters using extended sentences and finish off by writing your own fables.


Hamilton aims to provide a diverse range of planning around multiple texts to give teachers a wide choice for their English teaching. With Oftsed's focus on making sure your planning is representative and relevant to the children in your class, we want to make sure you have plenty of choice - with books that have diverse characters, settings and cultural backgrounds that can be matched to your class, no matter your context.