Russian fairy tales as a way to learn Russian

русские сказки

Tired of cramming words and parsing complicated grammar rules? Take a break and read a fairy tale. Yes, reading fairy tales in Russian is a great way to learn the language. And it is suitable for everyone: both children and adults. The main thing is to choose a level-appropriate text and an interesting plot.

Why fairy tales are a great way to learn Russian


Fairy tales have changed a lot in the last hundred years. While they used to be rather violent stories with a sad ending, today fairy tales end happily, evil is punished, and good behavior is rewarded. Common elements of modern fairy tales include magic, magical settings, clear concepts of good and evil, and a moral or lesson to be learned.


In addition to general development and the opportunity to learn about the culture of the country of the target language, fairy tales allow for the development of all necessary language skills. Reading, writing, listening and even speaking can be practiced through fairy tales.

  1. Reading. Fairy tales are usually quite short, so reading is easy to understand. Tales are rich in vocabulary, using simple yet frequently used grammatical structures.
  2. Writing. Improving your reading skills naturally improves your writing skills. The more words and grammatical structures you learn, the more complex texts you will be able to write.
  3. Listening. Fairy tales can not only be read by yourself, but also listened to in recordings or in group lessons. This is a great way to work on listening comprehension of Russian speech.
  4. Speaking. By reading the stories aloud, you will work on pronunciation. And by discussing what you have read, you will be able to practise speaking.


Fairy tales do not have to become a daily part of the educational program, but including them from time to time will be useful and will diversify the process of teaching Russian.

A selection of fairy tales in Russian


For beginners learning Russian vocabulary and grammar, it is worth paying attention to the simplest fairy tales, which are usually read to children. If you are already quite advanced in mastering Russian, you can choose more complex texts. We have also made a selection of Russian fairy tales, moving from simple to complex.


русские сказки

Literally, the title of this fairy tale can be translated as “small round loaf”. It is one of the most famous Russian fairy tales. The plot is simple: a freshly baked kolobok runs away from his grandparents and, traveling through the forest, meets different animals who want to eat him. He sings a song to all of them and runs away from them, except for the last one. With frequent repetition of the storyline and a number of words and phrases, you will easily memorize new words.

Kurochka Ryaba

Literally: Ryaba the Hen. Once upon a time there was an old man and an old woman. They had a hen named Ryaba who laid a golden egg. Neither the old man nor the old woman could break the egg, but a mouse ran by, wagged its tail, the egg fell and broke. The old man and his wife were very upset, but the hen promised to lay them a new, ordinary egg.


Literally: Turnip. Another story that will help you learn animal names, words for relatives, and simple grammatical constructions. Like the previous tale, it is based on repetition. Grandfather planted a turnip, it grew, and he could not get it out of the ground alone. All the household and animals helped him.


Literally: Little Hut. This is a very popular children’s fairy tale about a wooden hut that has been sitting empty in the woods. It is first discovered by a mouse who decides to live in it. Gradually, various animals ask permission to move in, and the number of inhabitants continues to grow. The last to arrive is a bear who cannot get in and decides to live on the roof, quickly crushing the whole house. Again, animal names, repetition and basic vocabulary.

At the Pike’s Behest

Also this fairy tale can sometimes be found under the name “Emelya the Simpleton” (Emelya the Fool). The protagonist, though lazy and simple-minded, is good-hearted and relies on luck and the untranslatable Russian avos. A village simpleton named Emelya catches a magic pike that promises to fulfill his every wish if he spares it. Emelya uses the magic wishes to take care of everything he is too lazy to do himself.

Take a trial lesson

Not sure if this is for you? Have a no-obligation, free-trial lesson on us!

By clicking "Send" you agree to us processing your information


As in many fairy tales in Western cultures, cruel stepmothers are frequent villains in many Russian fairy tales. Such is the case in this story. An old man and an old woman have two daughters; one was rather ugly, but the younger one, Nastya, was capable and beautiful. The stepmother decides to send Nastya away in the middle of winter to the forest and leave her there to die. The inhabitants of the forest, including Santa Claus, who is essentially a human representation of the cold, decide to help Nastya because of her kind heart.

Tsarevitch Ivan, the Firebird and the Gray Wolf

The Firebird is one of the most recognizable characters in Russian folklore. Despite its beautiful appearance, this bird is not so good. In the fairy tale, it constantly steals golden apples from the king’s garden. The king sends his sons in search of this mythical creature and promises the finder half of his kingdom. It is clear from the title that Ivan will succeed. To find out how the gray wolf fits into this whole story, you just have to read it.


Literally: Snow Maiden. This tale is about an elderly couple, Ivan and Maria, who had no children. One snowy winter day, they decided to make a little girl out of snow. And she came to life. Unfortunately, the snow girl could not walk under the bright sun, and could easily melt from fire. The end of the tale, unfortunately, is sad.

Sister Alyonushka and Brother Ivanushka

The younger brother, Ivanushka, constantly tries to drink water from puddles, but his sister warns him that in this case he may turn into a goat. And in the end Ivanushka does turn into a goat. And in this state Ivanushka gets into trouble – he is taken away by Baba-Yaga. In this fairy tale the end is happy, Alyonushka manages to save her brother.

Kashchey the Immortal

Kashchey appears in various Russian fairy tales. He is an evil wizard who often steals beautiful women, especially those of noble birth. The heroes go to rescue the beauties, and luckily Kashchey turns out to be not so immortal.

Russian fairy tales help to learn about the values of the Russian people, their national character. This is how intercultural competence, an important component of learning Russian, is acquired.

We hope you found this article useful. We are ready to help you learn Russian online with a native speaker. Classes are individually adapted to your wishes. Submit an application for a free trial lesson and we will find the most suitable Russian language course for you.

Call me back!

By clicking "Send" you agree to us processing your information


Your application is accepted. We will call You back within two hours.

Start learning Russian

By clicking "Send" you agree to us processing your information

Test results

We have sent your test results to your email

Free consultation

If you have any questions, please contact us though the form below

Free introductory lesson

Please, fill out the form below to get free introductory lesson

Free consultation

If you have any questions, please contact us though the form below