American Tall Tales and Legends
Age 9-11: Concept 1 - Relationships: Unit 3

Discover how Paul Bunyan created the Grand Canyon. Wrestle a rattlesnake with Pecos Bill. Enjoy folktales and legends from the different geographical regions of the United States. Revisit familiar characters and meet many new ones as well. Learn how to identify the different types of stories, understand figures of speech, and practice writing with correct capitalization. Create your own folktale that reflects the region in which you live.

This unit can be used independently, but it is also designed to be used concurrently with the science and social studies unit My State.


  • Able to read and comprehend novels at a late 5th or 6th grade reading level
  • Able to write multiple paragraphs on a topic
  • Usually used by children in fifth grade

Table of Contents

  • Lesson 1: Story Genres
  • Lesson 2: Tales and Legends of the Northeast (2 Days)
  • Lesson 3: Tales and Legends of the South (2 Days)
  • Lesson 4: Tales and Legends of the Midwest (2 Days)
  • Lesson 5: Tales and Legends of the Southwest (2 Days)
  • Lesson 6: Tales and Legends of the West (2 Days)
  • Final Project: Your Own Tall Tale or Legend (2 Days)

Summary of Skills

Moving Beyond the Page is based on state and national standards. These standards are covered in this unit.
  • Analyze the characteristics of various types of text. (Language Arts)
  • Compare and contrast information on the same topic after reading several passages or articles. (Language Arts)
  • Compare oral traditions across regions and cultures. (Language Arts)
  • Consider how language brings characters to life and enhances plot development. (Language Arts)
  • Create multiple-paragraph compositions. (Language Arts)
  • Define figurative language (e.g., simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personification) and identify its use in literary works. (Language Arts)
  • Demonstrate evidence of language cohesion by providing a logical sequence for fiction and nonfiction. (Language Arts)
  • Describe how the author's perspective or point of view affects the text. (Language Arts)
  • Describe similarities and differences across texts, such as treatment of the topic. (Language Arts)
  • Describe the structural differences of various imaginative forms of literature, including fantasies, fables, myths, legends, and fairy tales. (Language Arts)
  • Develop theories to account for similar tales in diverse cultures (e.g., trickster tales). (Language Arts)
  • Identify and interpret elements of fiction and nonfiction, and then support by referencing the text. (Language Arts)
  • Include facts and details that help listeners to focus. (Language Arts)
  • Increase reading and writing vocabulary through discussion. (Language Arts)
  • Provide a context that enables the listener to imagine the circumstances of the event or experience. (Language Arts)
  • Read a variety of text, including folklore and legends. (Language Arts)
  • Read independently daily to build background knowledge. (Language Arts)
  • Recognize and use figurative language techniques. (Language Arts)
  • Recognize distinguishing factors of genre. (Language Arts)
  • Select a focus, an organizational structure, and a point of view based upon purpose, audience, length, and format requirements. (Language Arts)
  • Summarize and organize information from multiple sources. (Language Arts)
  • Write to entertain, such as to compose short stories. (Language Arts)
  • Compare and contrast regions within the United States. (Social Studies)
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