Robin Redbreast

Robin Redbreast
Birds can represent the fluttering, darting thoughts of intuition. This is why little birds helped Cinderella help herself.

Fairy Tales and the Achievement Gap FAQS

 Saving Cinderella: Fairy Tales and Children in the 21st Century 
A book for teachers, parents, and grandparents explaining the world wide Cinderella story, the archetypal animals and objects found there, and why reading fairy tales makes kids better readers.  Coming Spring 2014 from The Apocryphile Press, Berkeley, CA
  • Why Fairy Tales?  Because they are universal, found in every culture and every country. (Bettelheim, B. (1975) The Uses of Enchantment. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. p. 13).  Fairy tales are valuable because they  tap into the collective unconscious, the existence of which Maria Montessori knew of when she developed her method. (Montessori, M. (1948/1949) To Educate the Human Potential, p. 12.
  • Why Cinderella? Because it is the most prevalent fairy tale and the oldest, dating to the 1st Century B.C.E. (Cox, M.R. (1892/2011) Cinderella: Three Hundred Forty Five Variants of Cinderella, Catskin, and Cap O'Rushes. Cornell University Library Digital Collections
  • What does Cinderella have to do with The Achievement Gap?  Fairy tales are fun, and "Enjoyment of reading is characteristic of those who read a lot."  (Lillard, A. (2007) Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius. New York: Oxford University Press.)
  • Aren't there more important things for kids to read?  Fairy tales are great for the whole family, and children who read daily with their parents do better academically. (Ferguson, R. (2005) Towards Skilled Parenting and Transformed Schools: Inside a National Movement for Excellence With Equity. Harvard University.)
  • Isn't it best to stick with more realistic literature?  Reading a wide variety of fiction builds vocabulary.  (Dorer, M. (2010) Vocabulary Building the Montessori Way. American Montessori Society Fall 2010 Conference, San Diego, CA.
  • Aren't fairy tales incompatible with the Montessori Method ?  When used thoughtfully and creatively, they can be wonderful extensions of lessons in Montessori curriculum areas including geography, history, cultural studies, and language development. (Sacerdote, C. (2010) Fitting the Glass Slipper: Examining Cinderella. Presentation at American Montessori Society Fall 2010 Conference.
  •  Why now?  Elementary schoolchildren of the 21st century need all of humanity's collective unconscious and powers of imagination to thrive, as have children in the past.  Duffy, M. & Duffy, D. (2002) Children of the Universe: Cosmic Education in the Montessori Elementary Classroom. Hollidaysburg, PA: Parent Child Press.

Montessori globe
For more information on how reading together as a family, and reading tales from your family's heritage can improve your child's reading skills, visit
For more information about Montessori education, visit