Five reasons to read fairy tales
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Albert Einstein
Since I was a child, I’ve always been fascinated with reading fairy tales. I would spend hours at my local library reading books from the fairytale section. There was just something so fascinating about being able to read a book and being able to transport myself to another world and time. When I was reading them, I had no idea that reading fairy tales were actually good for me. They were just fun! Now as a librarian, I can understand why reading fairy tales are good for children. Here are five reasons why:
1. Fairy tales expands children’s imaginations
In fairytales, anything can happen and children learn to think beyond expected boundaries. Learning about faraway lands and different ways to solve problems can help children develop creative ways of solving their own problems.
2. Fairy tales boost children’s cultural literacy
Fairy tales are many times shared across cultures with slight variations, reading different versions of the same fairy tale help children understand other cultures. Fairy tales also can introduce unknown cultures and customs to children.
3. Fairy tales teach children about decisions, consequences and morals
Fairy tales often have a moral of the story. Stealing is wrong, the good will prevail, don’t talk to strangers, don’t walk home alone, etc. Children can learn that poor decisions can have negative consequences through such tales.
Having fun reading and enjoying books is one of the first steps in developing a life-long love of reading. When children read stories that they enjoy, they are more likely to like reading and want to read. I truly believe that my love/obsession with fairy tales as a child motivated me to read more challenging novels throughout my school years.
5. Fairy tales teach children about story structure
Understanding how stories work is important to developing reading comprehension. Fairy tales follow a clear beginning (once upon a time…), middle (problem) and an end (and they lived happily ever after). Understanding story structure helps children learn how to tell a story and develops their thinking and understanding skills.
When choosing fairy tales, it is important to consider your child’s age and mental readiness. Sometimes, some fairy tales can be too scary for children. If you need assistance, library staff are available to help you and your child choose great books, so just ask!
If you’re looking for modern fairy tale spin-offs with strong female characters, check out some of these fractured fairy tales:
The Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books and The Lillian H. Smith Collection also have some fascinating materials, including a fourteenth-century manuscript of Aesop’s fables and early and first editions of many modern children's classics.