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Pippa McGeoch

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A Writing Root for Town is by the Sea


KS: Lower KS2

Year Group: Year 4

Literary Theme: Rebuild & reunite

Author(s): Joanne Schwartz


Instant poem, comparisons, diary entry, section of dialogue, analysis of themes, book jacket with blurb and tagline, short report, letter of advice and narrative sequel

Main Outcome:

Narrative sequel


15 sessions, 3 weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

Children arrive to class to find several objects/clues around the text including a postcard; a shell; a piece of charcoal; a clocking-on card. They use these to make inferences before going on to write an instant poem. After making front page predictions around the illustration and title, the children share the story and – amongst other things - write predictions, make comparisons, create a section of dialogue and create a book jacket complete with with blurb and tagline. They then plan and write a narrative sequel, drawing upon the language and structures used by the author so as to emulate the style.

Synopsis of Text:

Stunning illustrations by Sydney Smith, the award-winning illustrator of Footpath Flowers, show the striking contrast between a sparkling seaside day and the darkness underground where the miners dig. This beautifully understated and haunting story brings a piece of mining history to life. The ever-present ocean and inevitable pattern of life in a mining town will enthral children and move adult readers, as a young boy wakes up to the sound of the sea, visits his grandfather's grave after lunch and comes home to a cosy dinner with his family, but all the while his mind strays to his father digging for coal deep down under the sea.


Seaside, ocean, mining, coal

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