Inside: Why Children Should Read Folk Tales, Legends, and Myths
Reading famous legends and myths to your children is so much more than sharing fun or interesting (or sometimes really weird and disturbing) stories together.
Sometimes they get tossed aside as archaic and unnecessary or are accused of containing problematic themes. That can happen if you take them literally. (Also, see our previous thoughts on fairy tales.)
Benefits of Reading Myths & Tales
We believe legends and myths are more than strange, seemingly outdated stories. They’re full of rich insights into humanity and history. We could talk for days about the value of them!
Simply reading the tale is enjoyable. Reading and exploring the richness of connected topics helps anchor new knowledge to something memorable.
Here are benefits of reading folk tales, myths and legends to children:
1. They contain timeless storytelling elements that are important to understanding literature.
2. They provide insight into various cultures (similarities and differences, importance of certain values, history of a people, the effect of geography on stories, etc).
3. They can help cultivate appreciation of your own heritage as well as other cultures.
4. Reading a variety offers insight into the universal human experience.
5. They enrich a child’s imagination!
A Couple of Must-reads:
However, we didn’t include the story in the learning guide simply because it’s a beautiful picture book that corresponds to the medieval theme. (Although it’s perfect for that.) We actually believe it’s essential literature.
In addition to the benefits listed above, it’s exciting for kids to recognize modern-day references to famous legends they’ve read. For example, do you know how many paintings there are of the legend of St. George? So. Many. That’s a study all on its own.
We couldn’t discuss folk tales and not mention one of our favorites, Johnny Appleseed. We love this legend because Johnny Appleseed was a real person! While some of the stories about him are delightfully over-the-top, it’s worth digging a little deeper to understand the real John Chapman and how he became what we know as the legendary Johnny Appleseed.
To do this easily, use our Johnny Appleseed learning guide and take a day with your kids to learn about Johnny Appleseed. In one day, you’ll learn about American history, geography, nature, and science. And, if there’s time, make an apple pie together.
Like we said, there are so many reasons Why Children Should Read Folk Tales, Legends, and Myths.
Favorite Folk Tales, Legends, and Myths
You know we’d never send you off without a robust list of reading ideas. Here are some of our favorite picture book versions and story collections in the category of mythology, folk tales, and more.
Note: Be sure to bookmark this page. We’re always adding more great books!