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Anthony Legon


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A Spelling Seed for Boy in the Tower


KS: Upper KS2

Year Group: Year 6

Literary Theme: Utopia vs. Dystopia

Author(s): Polly Ho-Yen


This is a three-session spelling seed for the book Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen.  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

disastrous, explanation, mischievous, vegetable, variety

Spelling Rules and Patterns

Endings which sound like /ʃəs/ spelt –cious or –tious

Words ending in –able and –ible, ably and –ibly

A Writing Root is available for Boy in the Tower.

Writing Root Overview:


Warning posters, packing lists, journalistic writing, formal letters, non-chronological reports, narrative retellings

Main Outcome:

Own version narrative (past and present tense)


15 sessions, 3 weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

This is a three-week Writing Root based upon Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen. Children will learn and revise many of the key grammar requirements of Y6 and have opportunity to apply them within short and longer written outcomes.

Synopsis of Text:

When they first arrived, they came quietly and stealthily as if they tip-toed into the world when we were all looking the other way.

Ade loves living at the top of a tower block. From his window, he feels like he can see the whole world stretching out beneath him.

His mum doesn’t really like looking outside – but it’s going outside that she hates.

She’s happier sleeping all day inside their tower, where it’s safe.

But one day, other tower blocks on the estate start falling down around them and strange, menacing plants begin to appear.

Now their tower isn’t safe anymore. Ade and his mum are trapped and there’s no way out . . .

Text Rationale:

This book was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award and was runner up in the Teach Primary New Children’s Fiction Award in 2015. Dealing with themes such as isolation, depression and loneliness, the book provides a relatable context and a safe space within which to explore these concepts with children. With modern day links to The Day of the Triffids, Polly Ho-Yen has created an engaging, dystopian narrative through which children will develop their skills of inference and deduction. 

Links and Themes:

Dystopia vs Utopia, post-apocolyptic, survival, bravery, courage, friendship, isolation

Date written: January 2016

View Boy in the Tower Writing Root

A Home Learning Branch is available for Boy in the Tower.

Home Learning Branch Overview:

This is a Home Learning Branch for Boy in the Tower.  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 Boy in the Tower Home Learning Branch

Literary Leaves within the same Literary Theme

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