Cinderella Around the World

Students read multiple versions of the fairy tale Cinderella, challenging them to think about how the culture, or setting, of the story influences the plot, and examining the setting and characters.



Unit 1

2nd Grade

Unit Summary

In this first unit of second grade, students read multiple versions of a classic fairy tale, Cinderella. Through reading various versions of the same story, students are not only exposed to a wide variety of cultures, but they are also challenged to think about how the culture, or setting, of the story influences the plot. In 1st grade Literature, students took a trip around the world, exploring a wide variety of themes and stories from all over in order to build a foundational understanding that our world is made up of many diverse and unique cultures. This unit builds on the exposure to new cultures students received in 1st grade and provides an opportunity for students to explore the idea that even though cultures may appear to be different, there are many things embedded within the unique characteristics of different cultures that make them similar. Storytelling, and the role of storytelling, is one of those similarities. It is our hope that this unit, in connection with others in the sequence, helps students build empathy and understanding of people and cultures that might be different from them.                                  

The different versions of Cinderella help students understand the components of a fairy tale and the lessons associated with traditional fairy tales. Over the course of the unit, students will be challenged to ask and answer questions about the text and illustrations as a way of deepening their understanding of plot, setting, and characters. In the first section of the unit, students will focus deeply on the setting, characters, and plot of the different versions of Cinderella, learning to compare and contrast the nuances across different versions. In the second section of the unit, students will read Cinderella stories that vary from the traditional plot structure but still include the underlying theme that a person’s actions (good or bad) influence their life outcomes. In this section, students will dive deeply into three texts to analyze different characters’ traits and how the author uses those traits to help reveal the lesson of the story.

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

Supporting Materials


This assessment accompanies this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Intellectual Prep

Unit Launch

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Essential Questions

  • What lessons can we learn from the characters in traditional fairy tales and folktales?
    Below are some of the lessons students might learn from Cinderella:
  • Treat others the way you want to be treated.
  • Treat others with respect.
  • Beauty is on the inside.
  • If you are kind, you will be rewarded.


  • How can we use the lessons we learn from fairy tales in our own lives?
    When applying the lessons to their own lives, encourage students to be proactive and antiracist. If possible, connect it to causes bigger than themselves (e.g. racial justice, anti-bullying, etc.).

Fluency Focus Areas

  • Readers read with expression and volume to match interpretation of the passage
  • Readers use proper intonation to show interpretation of the passage

This unit is one of the only units in the sequence where the majority of texts are read aloud to students. Therefore, the focus of this unit is on modeling reading aloud with prosody. This involves reading with expression, timing, phrasing, emphasis and intonation in a way that supports comprehension and meaning making. In later units, and during independent reading, students will have multiple opportunities to practice fluent reading in grade-level texts.

Writing Focus Areas

Sentence-Level Focus Areas

  • Produce simple sentences
  • Convert fragments to sentences

Complete sentences are the foundation for all writing. In this unit, students learn to differentiate between a fragment and a complete sentence. We recommend using our guide Sentence-Level Feedback and Support (K-5th Grade) to provide individual and small-group feedback to ensure that all students are able to use complete sentences by the end of the unit.

Narrative Writing Focus Areas

  • Brainstorm and outline before writing
  • Develop a focused narrative with a beginning, middle, and end
  • Use descriptive language to show, not tell, character feelings
  • Use temporal words to show passing time 



admire arrogant ashamed cross crafty culture deceitful desperate delighted dread envy entranced fairy tale generous genuine graceful humble jeer long marveled obedient peer pleased proud relieved sob temper vain weary

To see all the vocabulary for Unit 1, view our 2nd Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Content Knowledge and Connections

  • Cultures around the world are all unique. They share many similarities and differences. If a culture is different from yours, ask questions to learn more.
  • Fairy tales are fictional stories that come from all cultures. Common characteristics of fairy tales include; set in the past, have fantasy, make-believe or magical elements, have clearly defined good and evil characters, most often have a happy ending, and teach a lesson that is important to the culture they come from. 
  • There are several major characteristics of all Cinderella stories:
    • Cinderella arrives, is the most beautiful woman at the ball, the prince falls in love.
    • The clock strikes midnight, she runs away and drops her glass slipper.
    • The prince tries to find Cinderella by putting the glass slipper on all women in the land.
    • It fits Cinderella, they marry. 
    • Changes Cinderella: she’s no longer a servant, but a princess
    • Changes stepsisters: they apologize, and Cinderella forgives them and lets them live at the palace 
  • These characteristics differ based on the setting of Cinderella and the values/elements of the culture. 

Supporting All Students

In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.

Lesson Map

Common Core Standards

Core Standards


Foundational Standards

Reading Standards: Foundational Skills

  • RF.2.4

Supporting Standards


Unit 2

Lessons from Anansi the Spider

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