Making school fun and interesting for children can be tricky. Using familiar stories is one way to catch their attention, especially if you put a new twist on an old tale. Writing activities, language art lessons and learning about social situations can all be implemented using the story of "Little Red Riding Hood." Let the children use their imaginations in these activities and see where it takes them.
"Little Red Riding Hood" has memorable characters that differ widely in appearance and motivation. Teach the class about adjectives by having them think of descriptive words for each character in the story. Read the story first, to refresh everyone's memory. For younger kids, hold a brainstorming session to think of as many adjectives as possible for each character and write them on a large board or pad. Older groups can use this activity as a game. Divide the children into three groups, and give each group a main character. Set a time limit for tem to come up with as many adjectives as possible for their character throughout different parts of the story. For example, read the class the part of the story about the wolf meeting Little Red Riding Hood. Think of descriptive words for the wolf at this point, such as "devious," "crafty" or "sly." List adjectives for Little Red Riding Hood such as "innocent," "naive" or "witless." This activity could also help with team-building in the classroom.
"Little Red Riding Hood" is riddled with crimes committed by the Big Bad Wolf. Depending on which version of the story you read, he not only breaks into the grandmother's house and pretends to be Little Red Riding Hood, but also either eats her or locks her in a closet. Let younger kids create wanted posters for the wolf. Older children could write a crime report on the incident, as told from one or more of the characters' viewpoints. This will teach them about point of view in writing, as well as help them practice their general language skills.
Discussing the moral of the story can lead to an interesting classroom debate or writing assignment. Depending on the version of the story, there are a number of plausible morals. When Little Red Riding Hood meets the wolf, you can discuss not talking to strangers. If the version you're reading includes instructions from the Little Red Riding Hood's parents not to dawdle in the forest, bring up the importance of obeying parents. Children will come up with their own ideas about what the moral is. This is a great chance to talk about themes and morals in stories and how they can be applied to your own life.
There are a huge number of children's and adult books based on the classic story of "Little Red Riding Hood." The classic story from Germany by the Grimm Brothers is probably the best known. Countries such as Japan, China, Italy and France also have variations of this folk tale. Read a few age-appropriate versions to the class. Younger children will enjoy the more modern, less gruesome versions with happy endings that can be found in picture books. Older children may be interested in older, classical versions that have a less-than-happy ending. Discuss the differences in the versions you read. Deconstructing the story can be a useful introduction to plot, such as rising action and falling action. Using stories from different cultures is an interesting way to learn something about another country. Older children can be assigned to write their own version of the story. For a shorter assignment, have them only write a new and original ending to the story.
Teach your class how to properly write and address a letter. Have them choose a character to write as and a character to write to. For example, Little Red Riding Hood may write to her grandmother telling her she is coming to visit her. Or, the wolf may write the grandma to apologise for locking her in the closet. The children can have fun exchanging letters and reading them to each other. Alternatively, have a few children play the part of each character and read the letters addressed to them in front of the class.
- British Council: Little Red Riding Hood
- Fresh Plans: Little Red Riding Hood Lesson Plans
- James Madison University: Little Red Riding Hood Variations
- Hot Chalk: Write a Letter to Red Riding Hood character
- "How Old Is Little Red Riding Hood? Tales Over Time"; Gwen Thurston Joy
- University of Pittsburgh: Grimm Brothers' Home Page