Exploring the World through Story

Level A:
Fables and Pourquoi Tales

Exploring the World through Story, Level A

In Level A, you’ll share classic fables from Aesop and pourquoi (“how and why”) tales from around the world with your Kindergartner. By the end of the year, students will have explored stories from more than a dozen different cultures, and they will be able to name and locate all of the continents and world oceans.

View a Sample Learn More

Level B:
Trickster Tales

Exploring the World through Story, Level B

In Level B, first grade students meet famous trickster characters from around the globe while expanding their knowledge of world geography. African and African-American tales take center stage this year. Students discover how geographers divide the globe with lines of latitude and longitude.

View a Sample Learn More

Level C:
Wonder Tales

Exploring the World through Story, Level C

In Level C, second graders dive deep into the world of wonder tales, with a mix of classic stories from the European fairy tale canon and tales of imagination from every corner of the globe. By the end of the year, students will be able to identify twenty world regions and important countries in each.

View a Sample Learn More

Bundle: Exploring the World through Story, Levels A-C

Exploring the World through Story, Levels A-C

Buy all three primary levels and save!

Level D:
Wisdom Tales 1

Exploring the World through Story, Level D

In Level D, third graders read wisdom tales from the Hindu, ancient Egyptian, and Jewish traditions in beautifully illustrated children’s editions. Guided oral narrations, copywork, dictation, and varied composition activities support student writing. Students master literary terms and cultural information through memory work.

View a Sample Learn More

Level E:
Wisdom Tales 2

Exploring the World through Story, Level E: Wisdom Tales 2

In Level E, fourth graders read wisdom tales from the Buddhist, Christian, and ancient Greek traditions. Students practice paragraph formation with dictation and varied writing activities. Memory work helps them learn key literary terms and cultural information.

View a Sample Learn More


EWS Level A: Fables & Pourquoi Tales

In Level A, you’ll share classic fables from Aesop and pourquoi (“how and why”) tales from around the world with your Kindergartner. Your Instructor’s Guide includes the book list, schedule, printable maps, and 36 scripted lesson plans. You’ll also find suggestions for optional leveled readers and picture books that help your child build the background knowledge that is so crucial to reading comprehension. Short geography readings, map/globe explorations, and foundational memory work are included. By the end of the year, your child will have explored stories from more than a dozen different cultures, and they will be able to name and locate all of the continents and world oceans.


EWS Level B: Trickster Tales

In Level B, your first grader will meet famous trickster characters from around the globe while expanding their knowledge of world geography. Your Instructor’s Guide provides a schedule; book lists; printable maps; copywork and narration sheets; and complete plans for 36 engaging lessons. African and African-American tales take center stage this year, as your child learns how storytellers adapt their tales to new environments and new purposes. Your child will learn the art of oral narration, a foundational skill for writing. Simple copywork sentences reinforce written language conventions, including spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. After a review of the geography work from Level A, your child will learn about latitude and longitude as well as neighboring countries.


EWS Level C: Wonder Tales

In Level C, your second grader will wander through the world of wonder tales, with a mix of classic stories from the European fairy tale canon and tales of imagination from every corner of the globe. Your all-in-one Instructor’s Guide offers the book list; schedule; printable maps, graphic organizers, and copywork/dictation sheets; and detailed plans for 36 lessons. With EWS-C, your child will develop their oral narration skills, learn to identify narrative structures, and compare literary themes across cultures. Copywork gradually increases in length and complexity, and dictation is introduced in the second trimester. By the end of the year, your child will know 20 geographical regions within the inhabited continents and at least one key country in each region.

Free download! EWS-C Copywork Pages for Weeks 1-13, made by a generous parent.


EWS Level D: Wisdom Tales 1

In Level D, your third grader begins their exploration of world wisdom tales with stories from the Hindu, ancient Egyptian, and Jewish traditions presented in beautifully illustrated children’s editions. These narratives introduce your child to key characters, symbols, and values contained in the texts, laying the foundation for the later study of world classics. Your Instructor’s Guide (230 pages) includes:

  • Book and materials lists
  • Scheduling options
  • Lesson prep and presentation checklists
  • 72 scripted lessons
  • Historical and literary background information
  • Tier 2 vocabulary lists
  • Varied writing activities
  • Copywork and dictation
  • Memory work with a detailed implementation guide

The Student Worksheet pack (160+ pages) provides everything your child needs to complete the writing activities:

  • Graphic organizers
  • Narration sheets
  • Copywork and dictation sheets
  • Worksheets in large type

EWS Level E: Wisdom Tales 2

In Level E, your fourth grader continues their exploration of world wisdom tales with stories from the Buddhist, Christian, and ancient Greek traditions. These narratives introduce your child to key characters, symbols, and values contained in the texts, laying the foundation for the later study of world classics. Your Instructor’s Guide (220+ pages) includes:

  • Book and materials lists
  • Scheduling options
  • Lesson prep and presentation checklists
  • 72 scripted lessons
  • Historical and literary background information
  • Tier 2 vocabulary lists
  • Varied writing activities
  • Dictation selections
  • Memory work with a detailed implementation guide

The Student Worksheet pack (80+ pages) provides graphic organizers, outlines, and other materials to help your child practice both sentence- and paragraph-level composition.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is EWS?

Exploring the World through Story is a secular world literature curriculum for grades K-8. Levels A-E for grades K-4 are currently available. Level F (grade 5) will be released in Spring 2022, with middle school levels for grades 6-8 to follow.

How do I choose the right level?

The EWS levels correspond to the following US grades and ages:

Level A: Kindergarten (Ages 4-6)
Level B: 1st Grade (Ages 5-7)
Level C: 2nd Grade (Ages 6-8)
Level D: 3rd Grade (Ages 7-9)
Level E: 4th Grade (Ages 8-10)
Level F: 5th Grade (Ages 9-11)
Level G: 6th Grade (Ages 10-12)
Level H: 7th Grade (Ages 11-13)
Level I: 8th Grade (Ages 12-14)

What books do I need to teach EWS?

A list of the required books and supplies is included in the free curriculum sample for each level. Links to samples appear in the description boxes for each level of the curriculum.

What will the upcoming levels cover?

Level F completes the Wisdom Tales collection with stories from the Islamic, Norse, and Chinese traditions.

The middle school levels, for grades 6-8, will be worktexts written to the student, introducing them to classics of world literature with age-appropriate abridgments, adaptations, and retellings.

All stories are approached from a secular perspective with an emphasis on their cultural and literary importance.

What skills does EWS cover?

You can download the EWS Scope and Sequence to see at a glance which ELA skills are covered at different levels of the program. (Levels that are currently available are highlighted.)

Does EWS teach writing?

Although the writing activities in EWS reinforce the composition skills most relevant to writing about literature, the program does not replace a dedicated writing curriculum. For my curriculum recommendations, see Grammar and Writing with EWS. For an overview of ELA skills and how EWS supports them, see the ELA Skills Sequence chart and the EWS Scope and Sequence.

The writing activities in each level of EWS are arranged to help students build skills as they progress through the program. For a list of the instructional focal points of each level, see “Writing Instruction, Step by Step.

Can my child start in the middle of the program?

Each of the primary levels (A-C) includes a review of the narration skills and memory work taught in the previous levels, so students can jump in at the level corresponding to their grade or age.

Levels D-F are best taught in sequence, as some of the writing activities in Levels E and F assume familiarity with stories from Level D. To get the most out of the writing activities, students beginning the program with Level D should be able to (1) accurately retell a short tale in their own words and (2) comfortably write 3-5 simple sentences without assistance.

Can I teach students of different ages together?

Yes, within reason. The stories increase in length and complexity as the levels progress, but children within a year or two of the suggested range can still benefit from the program. You may need to adapt the writing activities for younger students.

Where do the stories in EWS A-C come from?

Download the EWS A-C Countries & Peoples PDF to see a listing arranged by level.

Does the geography memory work continue in the elementary and middle school levels?

No, but all the information you need to continue with geography memory work appears in Living Memory. I also recommend Heather Alexander’s A Child’s Introduction to the World as a geography resource for elementary-age students. If your students enjoy web- or app-based learning, visit Seterra for hundreds of geography quiz games and free printables.

What books do you recommend for preschoolers to prepare them for EWS?

Where can I find more folktales?

Your first stop should be the 398.2 section of your local library, where folktales, fairy tales, and fables are shelved. August House Publishers, which specializes in storytelling resources, features many titles for children. If you are looking for Asian tales, check out Tuttle Publishing’s beautifully illustrated Children’s Favorite Stories series. The World Folklore Series from Libraries Unlimited is outstanding, if somewhat expensive, so you may want to check your local library for these books. And do pre-read them; some volumes in this series include culturally authentic but intense stories that are more appropriate for mature readers.

Can I teach EWS in my school, tutoring business, or homeschooling co-op?

Yes! Please download the licensing information sheet, and get in touch with any questions.

How can I learn more?