Language Arts Lesson Plans: Imitation in Writing Using “The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs” by Jon Scieszka


This lesson is designed to teach students how to mimic a style of writing in creating their own story. In doing so, students will

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith

gain a higher understanding of sentence structure, style, dialogue, and literary elements. In addition, students will gain experience in writing their own folktale, fairytale, or fable, which will yield a higher understanding of those literary genres.

  • A collection of common fairytales, folktales, and/or fables students have likely heard, preferably picture books.
  • Markers, colored pencils, crayons (optional).
  • Construction paper (optional).

The Activity

Begin by asking your students what a fairytale is. Explain that a fairytale is an oral tradition that contains a magical element and has a common theme of good overcoming evil. Continue by explaining that a folktale is a story that has been passed down from generation to generation that does not have just one author. Finish by telling your students that fables are short oral traditions that teach some sort of moral and often use animals as the characters.

Have them give you examples of some of the fairytales, folktales, and fables they have heard. Listen to the audio version of The Three Little Pigs. Discuss whether it is a fairytale, folktale, or fable. Segue into reading The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka. Be sure to show the students the pictures as you read.

After reading, explain that there are many different versions of popular stories like this one. Discuss Scieszka’s version and how it compares to the classic story. This would also be a great time to discuss point of view. Set out the picture books and have the students choose one to rewrite from the perspective of a different character, similar to what Scieszka did by writing his story from the point of view of the wolf.

Tell the students to imitate Scieszka’s story, in that they are telling the story from the perspective of one of the characters, adding twists in plot, and a few elements of humor. Once they complete their rough draft, have them peer edit with a partner, using the guidelines below. After peer editing, have the students write or type their final copy.

Extension Idea

Have them create a story book version of their writing, using construction paper and coloring utensils. If you have them create the picture book, be sure to tell them to illustrate it, as well. This would be a great way to incorporate publishing into the project and give the students something to take home that shows off their writing talent and creativity. Bear in mind that additional time should be allotted if you are going to have them make a picture book.

Peer Editing

For peer editing, have the students partner up and read each other’s papers. Write these guidelines on the board or give the students a copy of them.

  1. Check basic grammar (i.e. capitalization, punctuation, and spelling). Write a correction if needed.
  2. Find at least two literary elements (i.e. simile, metaphor, personification, onomatopoeia, etc.) and highlight them. Each story must incorporate at least two literary elements.
  3. Find at least two examples of dialogue and highlight them. Each story must have at least two examples of dialogue.
  4. At the end, write your personal opinion on the paper. Bear in mind you must use only constructive criticism. Negative or unhelpful thoughts are not needed.
  5. Give the person back his/her paper and discuss any changes that should be made prior to writing your final copy.

Suggestions for Picture Books

  • Squids Will Be Squids by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
  • The Girl Who Spun Gold by Virginia Hamilton
  • Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl by Virginia Hamilton
  • The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
  • Aesop’s Fables
  • Cinderella
  • Fairytales by the Brothers Grimm
  • The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs
  • Iron John (adapted from the Brothers Grimm) by Eric A. Kimmel

Concluding Thoughts

In this lesson, your students created a piece of imitation writing, in which they chose a fable, folktale, or fairytale to retell from the perspective of a different character. In doing so, they gained a higher understanding of those literary genres and of basic writing skills. They also furthered their knowledge of dialogue and literary elements, as they had to use them in their own writing. Your students will enjoy reading Scieska’s The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs and creating their own story. Using imitation writing is a great way to teach and perfect writing skills.

Post a comment and let us know how it works for you.

This post is part of the series: Teaching Reading and Writing Skills Using The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka

Scieszka’s short story The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, which is a twist on the classic fairytale “The Three Little Pigs,” can be used to teach a variety of reading and writing skills. In this series, we will explore some of the skills this book can be used to address.
  1. Use The True Story of the Three Little Pigs for a Lesson on Point of View
  2. Teaching Compare and Contrast with "The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs" by Jon Scieszka
  3. Mimicking Writing Styles Using The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs