Writing Root Back to List

Resource written by

Pippa McGeoch

Senior Consultant

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Book status: The book for this planning sequence is currently reprinting or out of print and therefore not in stock at most booksellers. If you do not already own the book, we would recommend this planning sequence as an alternative:

Alternative sequence

A Writing Root for Sparky

£5.00 (inc. VAT)

KS: Lower KS2

Year Group: Year 3

Literary Theme: Overcoming Adversity

Author(s): Jenny Offill


Descriptive passage, ‘how to’ guide, letter, discussion, non-chronological report

Main Outcome:

Own version narrative about an unusual friendship


15 sessions, 3 weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

In this three-week Writing Root, children research potential pets that need little care before creating a catalogue page. They explore the concept of irony and subtle characterisation by being ‘Reading Detectives’ to infer and deduce ideas from careful authorial choices. They develop an understanding of multi-clause sentences using commas and brackets. Fronted adverbials and the associated punctuation will be exlplored. Children write a response to the text from their own viewpoint after discussing the concepts of double-meanings, subtle humour and accepting someone for who they really are. The sequence of learning concludes with the children writing an own-version narrative.

Synopsis of Text:

A little girl wants a pet. She's not fussy, any will do. Her mother said no to a bird and bunny and trained seal. Then she agrees to the sloth, Sparky!

Sloths don't know how to fetch. Or roll over. But they sure know how to play dead.

What's an eager pet owner to do?


Sloths, pets, friendship, caring

Date written: January 2017

A Spelling Seed is available for Sparky.

Spelling Seed Overview:


This is a three-session spelling seed for the book Sparky by Jenny Offill.  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

promise, actually, arrive, believe, minute, opposite, probably

Spelling Rules and Patterns

The suffix -ly

More prefixes (in-, il,- im-)

View Sparky Spelling Seed

Literary Leaves within the same Literary Theme

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