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Nicola Bishop


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Donny Morrison

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A Writing Root for The Great Fire of London

£5.00 (inc. VAT)

KS: R & KS1

Year Group: Year 2

Literary Theme: Urban Metropolis

Author(s): Emma Adams & James Weston Lewis


Persuasive posters, warning posters (instructional writing), speech bubbles, letters of advice, certificates

Main Outcome:

Information booklet


15 sessions, 3 weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

This is a three-week Writing Root for The Great Fire of London by Emma Adams and James Weston Lewis, in which the children explore London in the present and the past, through the story of the great fire. Children compare the London of today and the London of 1666, using past and present tense. A sense of audience and purpose is heightened as children write a spiel for a tourism event and write a blurb for the Museum of London’s Great Fire exhibit. They explore the cause of the fire and create warning posters in role as King Charles II. Drama is used throughout to explore the experiences of Londoners during the fire and children create speech bubbles and diary entries. Children also role play being in the King’s Council and make speeches giving King Charles II advice on what to do to combat the fire. Children also write certificates to give out to brave Londoners in a royal ceremony. The class will create their own mini–London Museum in class to publish and display their work. 

Synopsis of Text:

In 1666, London's citizens woke to see the skyline above their city's cramped wooden houses ablaze. The Great Fire of London is a hauntingly beautiful visual re-telling of one of the most well-known disasters in the city's history. To commemorate the 350th anniversary of the fire, powerful and sumptuous drawings from the new east London illustrator, James Weston Lewis, bring the events of November 1666 to life in this stunning gift book.

Lewis's drawings take readers on a journey, from the single smouldering coal that falls out of the baker's oven to the swirling clouds of ash that engulf the city and then in to the very heart of the fire itself. As the pages turn, you can witness London burning to the ground and then rebuilding again.

Text Rationale:

This is a superb book to teach the history of the Great Fire of London. The richly detailed illustrations and text work effectively together to portray 17th century London and the changes it went through during this turbulent time. James Weston Lewis’ illustrations are colourful, vivid and bring this period of history to life, including city maps and drawings of London before, during and after the fire. The book highlights how people helped each other through the fire as well as how London and the fire service evolved afterwards.

Links and themes:

The Great Fire of London, London, Fire, history, 1666, historical events and characters, innovation, community

Date written: May 2020

A Spelling Seed is available for The Great Fire of London.

Spelling Seed Overview:


This is a three-session spelling seed for the book The Great Fire of London by Emma Adams.  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

any, clothes, everybody, fast, great, improve, most, poor, should, who

Spelling Rules and Patterns

The /l/ or /əl/ sound spelt –al and –el at the end of words

The /s/ sound spelt c before e, i and y

View The Great Fire of London Spelling Seed

A Home Learning Branch is available for The Great Fire of London.

Home Learning Branch Overview:

This is a Home Learning Branch for The Great Fire of London.  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 Great Fire of London Home Learning Branch

Literary Leaves within the same Literary Theme

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