Snow White, by the Brothers Grimm is a classic fairy tale that can be used to enhance literary in the classroom either as a standalone story or as part of a traditional tales topic. The story of a beautiful princess hated by a queen consumed with the jealous desire to be the fairest person in the land has entertained generations of children. How can this be used in the classroom to develop literacy skills? Below are some ideas.
Snow White is a story that can be enjoyed as a whole class activity in small groups or independently depending upon the age and ability of the children. When the story has been introduced the children can join in with the repetitive parts of the story or read the words they are familiar with.
There are many versions of Snow White. When the wicked Queen tries to kill Snow White some tales have just the apple and others are more detailed featuring laces, a comb and then the apple. The children could read or listen to the different types then compare which one is best. It could also be linked to multi-media and they could decide if they preferred the film or the book.
Speaking and Listening
Having read part or the whole book all children can discuss which part of the story they liked the best. They can talk about whether or not they liked this story. Games can be played whereby the teacher says a piece of dialogue from the book and the children have to listen and guess who the character is. Thinking about the expression is also important. One way of doing this is to take a simple sentence and think about how each person would say it. It can be something as ordinary as “I am hungry. “ How would the wicked queen sound? How would Snow White say it? For example, the Queen might sound sharp and cross whereas Snow White might be gentle.
Writing the characters names or key words from the book is one way of revising both spelling and handwriting. Words such as apple could be written inside a drawing apple for children who need visual clues to help them learn. The popular phrase “Mirror, mirror, on the wall…” could be written inside an illustrated mirror. A part of the story could be copied in the school’s handwriting format depending upon the age and ability of the children.
Writing for a purpose gives meaning to the children. When they are aware of the audience it gives them a structure. Books could be made. In a class of young children then it may simply be a case of making a large display book where the teacher scribes the words and the children contribute illustrations or label characters. Smaller books can be made and even a comic strip could be created for writers who have yet to develop confidence. Older children can create books and share them with younger pupils in school.
Using computer programs such as Word or Publisher allows the children not only to publish their work and enhance their ICT skills. Wanted posters can be made either from the Queen’s point of view wanting to Snow White is, or from the seven dwarfs’ wanting to find the wicked Queen.
Creating sequencing activities is another way of checking the understanding of the story. The seven dwarfs each have unique personalities and the children could create their own character such as Greedy, or Giggly. Adjectives can be used to label each character or sentences written about their new character.
To develop non-fiction writing skills, then a book report can be written, or recorded about the story or the children can choose their favourite characters. Researching about the writers will help the children to understand when and where the story originated from. The children can share their ideas.
In conclusion Snow White is an exciting story with horror and romance. There are some gruesome parts. It appeals to both boys and girl because it has a dark edge to it but also a happy ending.