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Pippa McGeoch

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Donny Morrison

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A Writing Root for The Iron Man


£5.00 (inc. VAT)

KS: Lower KS2

Year Group: Year 4

Literary Theme: Invention & Innovation

Author(s): Ted Hughes


Character descriptions, short news report, letter of advice, diary entry, menu (using descriptive devices), logbook entry

Main Outcome:

Mystery narrative


18 sessions, 3+ weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

This is a three-week plus Writing Root using The Iron Man by Ted Hughes and illustrated by Laura Carlin in which children will explore the devices of mystery and suspense.  They will write a range of different texts-types including letters, a news bulletin and a logbook entry with the extended written outcome being a published mystery narrative. The sequence of learning includes exemplified grammar and spelling activities throughout. Drama techniques such as conscience corridor and sculptor/sculpted are used to support understanding and to develop writing.

Synopsis of Text:

Part modern fairy tale, part science-fiction myth, The Iron Man describes the unexpected arrival in England of a mysterious giant "metal man" who wreaks havoc on the countryside by attacking the neighbouring farms and eating all their machinery. A young boy called Hogarth befriends him and Hogarth and the extraordinary being end up defending and saving the earth when it is attacked by a fearsome "space-bat-angel-dragon" from outer space. 

Text Rationale:

This is a complex text that explores issues around outsiders and fear of change. Former poet laureate Ted Hughes is a significant author who wrote for both adults and children. The narrative lends itself to discussion around standing up for what is right and not judging a book by its cover.  The themes raised in the book help with developing empathy. 

Links and Themes:

Hope, environment, nature, aliens, monsters, change, courage

Date written: July 2014

Updated: October 2023

A Spelling Seed is available for The Iron Man.

Spelling Seed Overview:


This is a four-session spelling seed for the book The Iron Man by Ted Hughes.  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

appear, consider, describe, height, length, pressure, straight, weight, certain, purpose, breathe

Spelling Rules and Patterns

The suffix - ous

The suffix -ly

Endings which sound like /ʒən/

View The Iron Man Spelling Seed

A Home Learning Branch is available for The Iron Man.

Home Learning Branch Overview:

This is a Home Learning Branch for The Iron Man.  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.

View The Iron Man Home Learning Branch

Literary Leaves within the same Literary Theme

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