Book Study: The Little Red Hen {Free eBook & Activities}

Most of us are familiar with the story of The Little Red Hen. It is easy to use this story as the basis for natural language arts activities. You’ll find our suggestions below.

This folk tale, passed down through the generations, tells the story of the little red hen that works hard for her bread.  At each stage of the bread making, from planting to baking, she asks for help from the other farm animals.  But when no one offers to help, the little red hen does the work herself.  Of course, after the bread is baked, all of the farm animals offer to help the little red hen eat the bread; but since they did not help in the making, they do not get to help in the eating.

The Little Red Hen as told and illustrated by Florence White Williams is in the public domain and available as a free download.

 Free eBook


(Not all of these activities will be skill-appropriate for every child.  Make adjustments to suit your child.)

  • Read the story aloud.
  • Ask your child to narrate the story to you — or tell what happened in his own words.
  • Stories of this nature with phrases that repeat are a joy for young children. They know what will happen and love to join in. Be sure to read the book in more than one sitting.
  • Ask your child to tell in order the steps needed to bake the bread. Use ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc.).
  • Have your child copy his favorite section of the story.
  • Explain that cat has a short a sound. What other words in the story end with the short a at ending? (fat, rat, that, sat) What other words can your child think of that end in at? Have him write two. (Possibilities include bat, hat, mat, pat.)
  • Explain that hen has a short e sound. What other words in the story end with the short e en ending? (Children, often, when, even, then, gotten, oven) What other words can your child think of that end in en? Have him write two. (Possibilities include pen, den, men, and ten.)
  • Explain what a folk tale is and the role the author played in telling the story.
  • Explain what an illustrator is. If you like, look at other illustrated versions of the story. How do the illustrations compare?
  • Have your child illustrate his favorite part of the story.
  • Notice how the dialog is written:

    “Who will plant the Seed?” But the Pig said, “Not I,” and the Cat said, “Not I,” and the Rat said, “Not I.”

    Write the dialog from dictation.

  • What does your child think is the moral of the story? Should the little red hen have given those who did not help make the bread bread to eat? Would she continue to make bread for others if no one helped?
  • Discuss 2 Thessalonians 3:10.
  • Have your child write a similar story that illustrates the same moral. (He can dictate his story to you if he is too young to write it down.)

The Little Red Hen
Interactive reader from Starfall.

Little Red Hen
Lesson plan on wheat from Ag in the Classroom.

Book Study: The Little Red Hen {Free eBook & Activities}

The Little Red Hen
Our favorite version illustrated by Paul Galdone.

The Little Red Hen
A simpler version for younger readers in the Treadwell Primer.

Unit Studies & Lesson Plans

The Little Red Hen — On the Farm — Story Telling — Sequencing Visuals
Great 61-page free download at Teachers Pay Teachers (free registration required).

The Little Red Hen
Free 8-page lesson plan with printables from August House.

Who Will Help?
Lesson plan focusing on how the behavior of the characters affects others.

The Little Red Hen
Five-day lesson plan at

Notebooking Pages

The Little Red Hen
Simple notebooking pages for copywork, narrations, or wrapping up.

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