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7th Grade Language Arts / Lesson 1(Day 1) - The Oral Tradition

Folktales: The Oral Tradition

What will we be learning today?

  • We will be learning about story telling and folktales.
    There are many different kinds of folktales and we
    will learn about some of them in this unit.

  • Folktales :  Made up stories that have been handed down by the
                        people of an area or region for many, many years.

  • People from all countries and all cultures of the world have folktales that
    have been passed down by word of mouth from one generation to the next.

The oral tradition

  • Every country and every culture had stories long before they had books.

  • The stories were told aloud, not read from a book. These stories make up the oral tradition of a culture. Every culture has an oral tradition.

  • The story teller who could remember these stories and tell them well was a very important person.

Why were folktales told aloud rather than written down?

    Most folktales are very old. The way of life was very different.

  • In some areas, the people did not believe reading and writing were valuable.
  • In some areas, only a few people could read and write. Most could not.
  • In some areas, the tools for writing like paper and pen were scarce. Books were also scarce.
  • In modern times many folktales have been written down. Now you are able to read them.

Why were folktales told?

  • Folk tales were told for the same reason we go to movies and watch TV today - for fun!

  • Folktales were often used to teach a lesson about what the people of the area considered to be proper ways and good conduct.
  • Folktales were often used to try to explain things in nature that the people didn't really understand.

Common elements in folktales

    Most folktales have several elements in common.

  • People questioning why things happen in nature.
  • The story explains how something began.

  • A wise person explains something by telling a story or solving a problem.

  • Wishes are granted.
  • Animals or objects talk.
  • Tricks are used.
  • Magic or sacred objects are used.
  • There are other elements too, but we'll talk about them later as we study more folktales.