Writing Root Back to List

Resource written by

Katie Barrett

Resource Manager

See More

Alex Francis


See More

Resource Preview

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 The Odyssey

£5.00 (inc. VAT)

KS: Upper KS2

Year Group: Year 5

Literary Theme: Power vs. Principles

Author(s): Gillian Cross


Speeches (proclamation, persuasive, soliloquy), diary entry, dialogue, missing scene, postcard, advertisement

Main Outcome:

Epic adventure story


20 sessions, 4 weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

This four-week Writing Root takes children on an adventure with the greatest of heroes - Odysseus - as he battles great monsters, gods and mortals on his voyage home to Ithaca.  Through the sequence of learning children discover multiple reasons to make a speech: to make a proclamation, for persuasive purposes, and for personal reflection. They will write in role as Odysseus himself, as well as record dialogue and their own take on a key scene in the style of the author.  Following research into the Greek Gods and a variety of ancient Greek monsters, the children will write their own epic adventure story based on their own invented character who encounters multiple trials on their journey home.

Synopsis of Text:

Homer’s great story is retold with simplicity and style by award-winning children’s writer Gillian Cross, and vividly brought to life in Neil Packer’s stunning illustrations. It charts the ten year epic voyage of Odysseus as he returns from the Trojan War to the island of Ithaca. On his journey he encounters all manner of perils, from the man-eating Cyclops and the evil sorceress Circe, to the deadly lure of the Sirens and the wrath of the sea-god Poseidon. Neil Packer’s striking imagination, and his extraordinary use of colour and dramatic silhouettes, capture the terrors of Odysseus’s travels as well as the dangers faced by his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus at home. The illustrations are a perfect complement to Gillian Cross’s beguiling narrative, which transports the reader effortlessly into Homer’s world.

Text rationale:

The Odyssey is one of the greatest stories ever told! This version, told by award-winning children’s author Gillian Cross brings to life the heroic voyage of Odysseus and his many trials as he returns home the Trojan War. Following the epic sequence of events, children will develop the stamina to track a complex story through its many highs, lows and stories-within-a-story. In combination with Neil Packer’s vivid illustrations, this book will introduce children to the perils and drama of the sea-gods, sirens and monsters of classic Greek mythology.  There are obvious links to the history curriculum and children may wish to venture onwards to Homer’s Iliad, also told by this wonderful author.  

Links and themes:

Ancient Greece, travel, voyages, battle, monsters, gods, Greek mythology, adventure, bravery, epic tales

Date written: December 2020

A Spelling Seed is available for The Odyssey.

Spelling Seed Overview:

This is a three-session spelling seed for the book The Odyssey by Gillian Cross.  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

ancient, competition, lightning, mischievous, relevant, physical

Spelling Rules and Patterns

Use of the hyphen

Words ending in –ant, - ance/–ancy

View The Odyssey Spelling Seed

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