Last updated: 2/24/2014


Grade 2 - The Little Red Hen

  Subject:   English Language Arts (NYS P-12 Common Core)
  Grade:   Elementary, 2nd Grade
  Unit Title:  

The Little Red Hen

  Approx. Number of Weeks:  

Unit Summary:

Students listen to the traditional tale The Little Red Hen retold by Paul Galdone to discover the traditional story and language patterns. They ask questions and use details from the text and illustrations to understand the setting, characters, problem, solution and central message or lesson. Next they listen to modern retellings of the story from different cultures, to look for similarities and differences to the traditional tale version. 

Next Generation Skills Addressed:
   Collaboration & Communication
   Creativity & Innovation
   Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
   Research & Information Fluency
   Social & Emotional Intelligence

1. What will students know and be able to do?


RL.2.1 - Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

RL.2.2 - Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.

RL.2.3 - Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

RL.2.4 - Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.

RL.2.5 - Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.

RL.2.6 - Acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud.

RL.2.7 - Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.

RL.2.9 - Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures.

RL.2.10 - By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories and poetry, in the grades 2-3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Essential Understandings:

  • Traditional Tales have recurring patterns.
  • Connections exist between the oral tradition and modern literature. 

Essential Questions:

Students will know:

  • Traditional Tales (Folktales) have well defined plots, easily identifiable characters, rapid action, and satisfying endings.
  • Traditional Tales have patterns that may unite the whole story.
    • The Little Red Hen is a cumulative tale, in which the actions are sequentially repeated until a climax is reached.
    • The repetition of the language pattern, “Who will help me?” and “I won’t” or “Not I” provides a structure and rhythm for the plot.
    • The plot follows a problem solution story pattern.
  • Characters in traditional literature may represent different characteristics and points of view (perspectives).
    • The Little Red Hen represents the point of view that everyone should help and that hard work and discipline is important. The other characters represent the point of view that while they want to share the food, they don’t want to help with the work and they stand for laziness, helplessness and irresponsibility.
  • Folktales often have a lesson or theme. The theme or lesson in this folk tale is, “It is important and fair to work hard. “
  • Modern authors can create a new story by changing the elements (title, setting, characters, problem, solution, word/refrain response pattern, illustrations/photos) of a traditional tale.
  • Story elements may reflect different cultures.
  •  Illustrations provide details that help readers understand stories. 

Students will be able to:

  • Ask and answer questions to create meaning from text.
  • Use a story map graphic organizer to demonstrate understanding of a text. 
  • Engage in comparative analysis of texts by different authors (find similarities and differences) through discussion.
  • Retell the story of The Little Red Hen following the traditional story pattern and using different voices for each character to support different points of view (perspectives).
    • Use a felt board/smartboard or puppets to:

2. How will we – and they – know?

Authentic Performance Task:

This task may be completed in pairs, small groups or individually. You may ask students to write their own Little Red Hen stories before completing the graphic organizer, but it is not required.

  • Using the Question Guide, students create an original The Little Red Hen story by changing some elements (setting, characters, problem, solution, language patterns, lesson) of the traditional tale and completing a graphic organizer (story map) to record their ideas.  They then dramatize their original The Little Red Hen story, using different voices to support the character’s different points of view (perspectives). 

Common Benchmark Assessment:

3. What learning activities will students participate in?

Learning Activities:

Sequence of Learning:

(Note:   Some students may be able to work through this quickly and then work on another pattern found in traditional literature.  See your instructional challenge teacher for ideas.)

Day 1

  • Read and discuss a traditional version of The Little Red Hen retold by Paul Galdone, with a focus on setting, characters, problem-solution story structure, repeated language patterns and the lesson.
  • Model asking and answering questions about the story, using the Question Guide and Story Map graphic organizer to record thinking. 
  • Ask students (pairs or individually) to return to their seats to fill in a blank story map graphic organizer in their own words, using the Question Guide and the model on the board for ideas.

Day 2

  • Read and discuss the traditional story The Little Red Hen (with photographs) by Barry Downard. Focus the discussion on using details from the illustrations/photos to add to understanding.
  • Ask pairs of students to independently fill out the Story Map graphic organizer using their own words. Provide the Question Guide to help them.

Day 3

  • Read and discuss Manana Iguana (a modern retelling of the traditional story). Look for similarities and differences to the traditional tale. Teacher models filling out the story map graphic organizer with the whole class.

Day 4

  • Read and discuss Armadilly Chili. Look for similarities and differences to the other texts. Student pairs complete the story map graphic organizer independently. Provide the Question Guide to help them.

Day 5

  • Read Gator Gumbo. Look for similarities and differences to the other texts. Teacher models filling out the story map graphic organizer with the whole class.

Day 6

  • Give student pairs the story map graphic organizer for Armadilly Chilli (they filled out) and The Little Red Hen by Downard (they filled out). After a brief explanation of how to use a venn diagram or t-chart to compare stories, have students record similarities and differences in the two stories on a blank chart (enlarged) that is provided for them. (For a challenge, some pairs can be given 3 stories to compare.)

Day 7-10

Students complete the performance assessment in small groups/pairs. 

Discipline Specific Considerations:


The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone

The Little Red Hen by Barry Downard

Manana Iguana by Ann Whitford Paul

Armadilly Chili by Helen Ketteman

Gator Gumbo by Candace Fleming


Allen Creek put together a collection on online versions of the Little Red Hen which can be accessed at this link:


Discipline Specific Vocabulary:



Characteristics (of characters)

Story map

Story and language patterns







Traditional literature (Folktales/folklore: Stories that come from the oral tradition.)

Modern literature (Stories with a known author.)

Content specific words (specific to cultural elements):

Manana Iguana: Spanish words (see glossary in the front of the book)

Armadilly Chili: chili; tarantula; jalapeno peppers; chipotle chilies; prickly pear cactus; horned toad; ‘sposed; scorpion; prairie

Gator Gumbo: bayou; Monsieur; sass; Mademoiselle; crawdads; okra; gumbo; Madam; savorous 

Data is Loading...