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Alex Chapman

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A Writing Root for Shackleton's Journey

£5.00 (inc. VAT)

KS: Lower KS2

Year Group: Year 4

Literary Theme: Unearthing Civilisations

Author(s): William Grill


Packing lists (justifications), letters (formal and informal), setting descriptions, interviews, diaries, dialogue

Main Outcome:

Newspaper report


15 sessions, 3 weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

This is a three-week Writing Root for Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill in which children begin by discovering an advert asking for volunteers to join a ‘hazardous journey’. They then apply for one of the many roles on Shackleton’s expedition.  Children then go on to use William Grill’s text to find out about the perilous adventure whilst creating interviews in role, writing both formal and informal letters and finally creating their own newspaper report about the events of Shackleton’s famous journey.

Synopsis of Text:

Shackleton's Journey is a unique visual re-telling Ernest Shackleton's landmark expedition crossing the Antarctic from one pole to the other. William Grill's impeccably researched and informative illustrations celebrate the 100th anniversary since the historic exploration by Shackleton and his crew on Endurance. Children will love exploring Grill's exploded diagrams and the fascinating details of this landmark voyage.

Text Rationale:

Shackleton’s Journey is a uniquely visual non-fiction re-telling of Ernest Shackleton’s epic expedition across the Antarctic.  The text has a clear factual style as well as sparse but thought-provoking illustrations by William Grill which are highly engaging. This gives children an understanding of the period after the Victorians and the start of WW1 and about what life was like in Britain.

Links and themes:

Explorers, adventure, expeditions, famous people, friendship, resilience, determination and exploration

Date written: June 2017

A Spelling Seed is available for Shackleton's Journey.

Spelling Seed Overview:


This is a three-session spelling seed for the book Shackleton's Journey by William Grill.  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

arrive, caught, imagine, island, medicine, accident(ally), calendar, earth, extreme, famous, sentence, mention

Spelling Rules and Patterns

More Prefixes: inter–, auto–, sub–

The suffix -ous

View Shackleton's Journey Spelling Seed

A Home Learning Branch is available for Shackleton's Journey.

Home Learning Branch Overview:

This is a Home Learning Branch for Shackleton's Journey.  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 Shackleton's Journey 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