Learning Branch Back to List

Resource Preview

Purchase Book

A Home Learning Branch for The Invention of Hugo Cabret


KS: Upper KS2

Year Group: Year 6

Author(s): Brian Selznick

This is a Home Learning Branch for The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  These branches are designed to support home learners to access literature-based learning using a selection of books we love from Writing Roots.  They include purposeful writing suggestions, links to the wider curriculum so that texts can be used across other subjects, key questions as well as spelling or phonics investigations.

A Writing Root is available for The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

Writing Root Overview:


Diary entry, journalistic writing, flashback narrative, speech, discussion, letter, film critique

Main Outcome:



17 sessions, 3+ weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

This is a three-week plus Writing Root based upon The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Children will use many of the key grammar requirements of Y6 and have opportunity to apply them by writing a missing flashback chapter exploring Hugo’s experience of living Uncle Claude, as well as researching the about the famous film director George Méliès and writing a biography about his life.

Synopsis of Text:

ORPHAN, CLOCK KEEPER, AND THIEF, twelve-year-old Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric girl and her grandfather, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.

Text Rationale:

Also a blockbuster motion picture, The Invention of Hugo Cabret is part novel and part wordless picture book. In fact, Brian Selznick became the first author to win the prestigious Caldecott Medal (usually awarded to picture books) with this unique offering. Reading like a movie on paper, children will be challenged to fill the gaps by creating their own narratives and dialogues using the wonderfully detailed and atmospheric illustrations. Links can also be made with the history of cinema and historical figures such as Georges Méliès. 

Links and Themes:

Film, cinemas, clocks, inventions, automatons, moving pictures, France, Paris, power of imagination, determination

Date written: October 2015

Updated: November 2020

View The Invention of Hugo Cabret Writing Root

A Spelling Seed is available for The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

Spelling Seed Overview:


This is a spelling seed for the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.  Below is the coverage from Appendix 1 of the National Curriculum 2014.

Spelling Seeds have been designed to complement Writing Roots by providing weekly, contextualised sequences of sessions for the teaching of spelling that include open-ended investigations and opportunities to practise and apply within meaningful and purposeful contexts, linked (where relevant) to other areas of the curriculum and a suggestion of how to extend the investigation into home learning.

There is a Spelling Seed session for every week of the associated Writing Root.


Word List Words

cemetery, desperate, definite, forty, profession, interrupt

Spelling Rules and Patterns

Words ending in –able and –ible, ably and –ibly

Words ending in –ent, –ence/–ency

View The Invention of Hugo Cabret Spelling Seed
The Literacy Tree®, Literary Leaves®, Spelling Seeds®, Home Learning Branches® and #TeachThroughaText® are all Registered Trademarks of The Literacy Tree Ltd.
The Literacy Tree CS.301, Clerkenwell Workshops, 27/31 Clerkenwell Close, London, EC1R 0AT | Company Registered no: 07951913