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Donny Morrison

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A Spelling Seed for Beowulf


KS: Upper KS2

Year Group: Year 5

Literary Theme: Legends & Folklore

Author(s): Michael Morpurgo


This is a three-session spelling seed for the book Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo.  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

aggressive, ancient, cemetery, committee, community, desperate, disastrous, exaggerate, explanation, sincerely

Spelling Rules and Patterns

Homophones and other words that are often confused

A Writing Root is available for Beowulf.

Writing Root Overview:


Letter of advice, diary entry, dialogue, character and setting description, action scenes, obituary

Main Outcome:

Own version legend or missing chapter


15 sessions, 3 weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

This is a 3 week + Writing Root using Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo and illustrated by Michael Foreman where children get an opportunity to discuss legends and the importance of heroic poetry in early European literature. They go on to create a number of varied written outcomes using the text as a starting point including recounts, formal letters, dialogue, descriptions, obituaries and writing their own epic, heroic narrative using various poetic devices. References will be made to the original manuscript throughout.

Synopsis of Text:

In fifth-century Denmark, a murderous monster stalks the night, and only the great prince of the Geats has the strength and courage to defeat him. Beowulf's terrifying quest to destroy Grendel, the foul fiend, a hideous sea-hag and a monstrous fire-dragon is the oldest surviving epic in British literature. Artfully retold and magnificently illustrated, this companion volume to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is made instantly accessible to children by a formidable children's book partnership.

Text rationale:

This is a key text in Anglo-Saxon literature, which delves into the historical period with detail and provides children with a rich background knowledge of the time. Re-told by significant children’s author Michael Morpurgo, this is the oldest surviving epic in British literature and includes examples of old-English language which will inspire children’s own writing. The book also provides a companion to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. 

Links and themes:

Classic fiction, narrative poetry, Denmark, Old English, monsters, dragons, bravery, intrigue, betrayal, loyalty

Date written: October 2018

View Beowulf Writing Root

A Home Learning Branch is available for Beowulf.

Home Learning Branch Overview:

This is a Home Learning Branch for Beowulf.  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 Beowulf Home Learning Branch

Literary Leaves within the same Literary Theme

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