Tall TaleMy little sister, who is in the 4th grade, was assigned to write a tall tale. I have no idea on how to get her started. Everytime I give her an idea she doesn't know how to write the...

Tall Tale

My little sister, who is in the 4th grade, was assigned to write a tall tale.

I have no idea on how to get her started. Everytime I give her an idea she doesn't know how to write the story...so in the end I do it for her...and that most definitely won't happen.

Please give me some ideas (that are easy) so I can get this 4th grader started.  

Asked on by george95

4 Answers | Add Yours

bmadnick's profile pic

bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

A tall tale is a story that has unbelievable elements and exaggerations that may be based on actual events. One of the oldest tall tales is the "fish story", the one that got away. The fisherman exaggerates the size of the fish, such as, "That fish was so big, I couldn't have fit it on the boat!" Some other examples of American tall tales are Johnny Appleseed and Pecos Bill.

This is your sister's opportunity to embellish the truth. Children write best when they write about a subject they are familiar with. What is she interested in? Does she have pets, favorite dolls, or stuffed animals? She could choose one of them and write a tall tale about it. What about her best friend? She could write a story about an adventure they have together. It sounds like the two of you are pretty close, so maybe she wants to write about a trip that the two of you take to a magical land. Once she decides the subject of her tall tale, tell her to let her imagination go wild.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

A tall tale is a story that is told in a true and generally believable fashion but which contains many exaggerated or unbelievable portions. Mark Twain's "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" is such an example. Children inadvertently often tell tall tales, mixing fact with fantasy elements or exaggerated facts. Outrageous bragging also sometimes comes into play when telling a tall tale.

Perhaps you and your sister can come up with a subject about something you both know well--a pet, a weird friend, a funny incident--and expand it with exaggerated details. If nothing still comes to mind, consider some other famous tall tales or perhaps read them together. Perhaps try relating the stories of

  • Johnny Appleseed, the appleseed planter
  • Paul Bunyan, the giant lumberjack
  • John Henry, the mighty steel driver

Or even famous Americans whose legends became greater than their true persona, such as Davy Crockett (the sureshot who wrestled bears and crocodiles) and Daniel Boone, whose legend is similar to Crockett.

mkcapen1's profile pic

mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

A tall tale is really just a larger than life story about something that happened.  Have her think up some thing that she or a friend did that was fun.  Have her add some little lies to make it seem to have more action and adventure than.  Tall tales have lies that are just exaggerations of the story.

In the fourth grade kids like different things, but animals are pretty cool.  Maybe she could tell  a story about how she walked her chihuahua dog one day and it saw another dog.  It took off dragging her behind.  the little dog chased the Great Dane up a tree and down a slide.  

We know a chihuahua would not pull over a fourth grader or chase and cower a Great Dane, but that is what makes it a tall tale.

udonbutterfly's profile pic

udonbutterfly | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

Tall tells are such awesome things to write! I hope you are able to creative with these ideas! Some great ideas would be...

  • A tree that grows paper for and with the use of special workers it's transmitted to special places where the picture of our presidents is printed on it and then given to the big money place to be kept safely guarded by guardians in black!
  • The cookie monster is the only one ability to make chocolate cookies and each and every cookie goes through his special test that is then sent out to kids to bake too!

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