Developing Listening Skills with Folktales

Download the Activity

Language Arts, Oral Language, Listening

Grade 3- 5


Students use their listening skills to answer questions about a passage of literature that has been read aloud to them.


In this activity, students practice their listening skills as they hear a passage read aloud by the teacher. They then answer questions based on what they have heard.

Teacher Directions

  • Slowly, but with expression, read aloud each passage to the students.
    Tell them just to listen carefully the first time through.
    Tell them you will read it again.
  • They should take notes on important details the second time.
    Remind them to think of what was included on the student guide pages.
    Read the passage aloud to the students a second time, slowly but with expression.
  • When you are done, pass out the essay questions.
    The students may use only the notes they have taken to answer the questions; they may not see the passage at any time.
    Also, they must not know the questions prior to listening to the passage twice.
    The notes are not considered part of the grade and are just for their own use.
  • Collect and score the essays.
  • On an overhead projector, display the essay questions.
    Read aloud an exemplary, average, and minimum essay response for each question (without revealing who the authors are).
    Talk about what made them exemplary, average, and minimally acceptable.
    Discuss what would be unacceptable responses as well.

Scoring Student Responses

To make scoring the essays as quick and easy as possible, adhere to the answer key's specific point value for each statement a student makes.
If the statement is invalid or irrelevant, do not add or subtract anything.
Total the points to arrive at an overall score, then refer to the rubrics given on the answer key pages for each genre to arrive at the minimum passing, average, and exemplary scores.
Tell students: Here are some words you will need to know as you listen to this folktale:
able to be heard
deceptive, dishonest, untrustworthy
Passage #12-The Sick Lion
One day the lion, king of all the beasts, was extremely ill.
He did not come out of his cave, but instead lay groaning and murmuring faint, barely audible roars whenever anyone came near.
The other animals did not know what to do.
For as long as they could remember the lion had made all their decisions.
They had long since forgotten how to think for themselves.
After much discussion, they agreed that they must visit him in his cave, for if they stayed away he would certainly be angry and they would suffer upon his recovering.
Besides, in his current condition he obviously couldn't harm them even if he wanted to.
So one at a time, or occasionally in small groups, the animals went to the royal cave.
Some took him a gift such as the best bit of meat from a recent catch.
Others just went to inquire about his health.
Large and small, each animal in the lion's kingdom all made their way to his dwelling.
However, the fox stayed away.
Eventually the lion noticed that the fox never visited him.
So the king sent his servant, a hyena, to inquire why the fox was being so rude.
"Fox," said the hyena, "You have displeased His Majesty the lion.
Although he is desperately ill, you have not even put your nose inside his cave to ask how he is feeling.
What excuse do you have for your disrespectful behavior?"
The fox replied, "Hyena, I would like to see the king, for I respect his wisdom.
Indeed, I once came right to the mouth of the cave bearing my best piece of meat as a get-well present."
"And?" the hyena prompted him.
"Although I was anxious to see the king, when I got there I noticed something that made me too frightened to go in," said the fox.
"And what was that?" asked the hyena.
The fox replied, "I saw many pairs of footprints in the sand from all sorts of animals.
But they were all going one way--into the cave.
Not a single footprint came out.
I did not want to enter a place from which I would never return."
The clever fox had figured out the lion's devious plan.
Believing he was sick and harmless, the animals he usually had to chase down for food were all coming right into his cave--and ending up as his next meal.


  • Folktales Passage #12 Questions (Page 43)
  • pencils

© 2022 Teacher Created Resources. All Rights Reserved.