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RE 3240, RE 3902, and RE 5140 Evaluating Literature for Children: Traditional Literature

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Traditional Literature: A Definition

Originating in the oral tradition, Traditional Literature has been used as a way of passing down wisdom and knowledge necessary for the survival of a social group. These ancient stories and poems are typically attributed to a specific culture or society, but have no known or definitive authors.

Types of traditional literature include:
- Folktales
- Myths
- Epics
- Legends
- Tall tales
- Fables
- Religious stories

Questions to Ask When Evaluating Folk Tales

Is the story respectful of and true to the culture being portrayed?

Is the work's style colorful and compelling, employing storytelling techniques that hold readers' and listeners' attention?

Does the work use specific word patterns, colloquialisms, or appropriate terminology to give the reader an accurate understanding of the culture being portrayed?

Do the work's illustrations match the tone of the text and inform readers about the culture?