How to Use Bloom's Taxonomy to Teach Fairy Tales

Using the different levels of Bloom's Taxonomy when reading fairy tales keeps students interested while developing comprehension skills.

Fairy tales offer a world of magical and unbelievable things that captivate students’ attention. Teachers can take advantage of this by teaching a range of comprehension skills to students, using Bloom’s Taxonomy when reading fairy tales. Students can learn basic comprehension skills to higher-level thinking skills if given different tasks from the range of areas that Bloom’s Taxonomy covers.

Ask students to recall information. Remembering is the first level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. After reading a few pages, ask students to recall some of the information from the fairy tale that you’ve read this far. For example, ask students to name all the characters in a fairy tale.

Require students to explain why. Understanding is the next level. After continuing to read the fairy tale, ask students to summarize what’s happened so far in the story. For example, ask someone to quickly summarize what’s happened so far to make sure everyone knows the important details of the story. This could be done if reading “Jack and the Beanstalk” or any other fairy tale by sequencing events on a graphic organizer. The University of Northern Iowa lists instructional strategies such as, “emphasizing connections, using concept maps and organizers.”

Applying is the third level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Allow students to demonstrate their understanding of vocabulary, such as antonyms and synonyms, by identifying them and then illustrating or writing the corresponding antonym or synonym. For example, if identifying the word "up" in a sentence from a story, the student could draw a picture of the character doing the opposite or write a sentence about the person doing the opposite.

Ask students to make an analysis. Do this by asking them to compare and contrast or to examine cause and effect relationships. For example, read two versions of the same fairy tale and then ask students to compare and contrast them. For example, students can compare two versions of “The Gingerbread Man.”

Ask students to make a judgment. This is the level of evaluating. Do this by asking them questions such as: “What do you think would happen if” or “Why do you think what the character did was a good or bad choice?” This could be asked about what the grandmother did in “Little Red Riding Hood.” “Was it a good idea for her to hide inside the house, or should she have run out of the house when she saw the wolf?” Old Dominion University also suggests creating tasks that use the words “argue” and “defend.”

Ask students to think of a different way for the story to end. This level of Bloom’s Taxonomy requires students to be creative. Giving them tasks that require them to invent, create, design or produce are all a part of the highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. For example, if reading “The Three Little Pigs,” ask students to design another type of house other than a brick house that the wolf wouldn’t be able to blow down.

  • Bloom’s Taxonomy has been revised. The new terms are Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating and Creating. The old terms were Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation. Creating is now the highest level and evaluating is now the second-highest level.

Audrey Akins began publishing articles in 2002 as a contributing writer for her college newspaper. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and also has a master's degree in education.