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Pippa McGeoch

Senior Consultant

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Jen Sutherland


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A Writing Root for Julian is a Mermaid

£5.00 (inc. VAT)

KS: R & KS1

Year Group: Year 1

Literary Theme: Imagination & Creativity

Author(s): Jessica Love


Instructions, writing in role, advertisements

Main outcome:

Three-verse poem


10+ sessions, 2+weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

This is a two-week Writing Root using Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love. Children discover a letter that is about being yourself. They make statements about their dreams and wishes before sharing the text. They explore verbs and use these to write commands that form instructions for being a mermaid. As the story unfolds, they predict, write in role and sort inferential statements. They create and advertise carnival costumes before moving to music as the creature they’ve decided to become. Finally, they look at the features of a poem before writing their own poems based on the idea of movement, being who you want to be and using verbs in their infinitive and progressive forms. Phonics for reading and writing is embedded as is punctuation for KS1.

Synopsis of Text:

While riding the subway home with his Nana one day, Julian notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train carriage. When Julian gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies and making his own fabulous mermaid costume. But what will Nana think about the mess he makes – and even more importantly – what will she think about how Julian sees himself?

Text Rationale:

This award-winning text by Jessica Love is beautifully written and lushly illustrated. It provides a context to discuss creativity, fashion and expression with children and is also a space where gender stereotypes and identity can be sensitively explored.  Links to the art and DT curriculums can be made. There is also a sequel, Julian at the Wedding, for children to read on their own. 

Links and themes:

Mermaids, dreams, being yourself, gender identity, stereotypes, carnival, fashion, creativity, freedom of expression

Date written: April 2019

A Spelling Seed is available for Julian is a Mermaid.

Spelling Seed Overview:


This is a two-session spelling seed for the book Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love.  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.


Common Exception Words

you, put, push, are, to, of

Spelling Rules and Patterns

The /v/ sound at the end of words



Words spelled with single vowel graphemes, some representing short vowel sounds and some representing long ones

View Julian is a Mermaid Spelling Seed
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