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Donny Morrison

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A Spelling Seed for Cinnamon


KS: Lower KS2

Year Group: Year 4

Literary Theme: Darkness & Light

Author(s): Neil Gaiman


This is a three-session spelling seed for the book Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman.  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

naughty, difficult, regular, sentence, strange, pressure, question, special, breathe, ordinary

Spelling Rules and Patterns

The ending sounding like /ʒə/ is always spelt -sure. The ending sounding like /tʃə/ is often spelt -ture, but check that the word is not a root word ending in (t)ch with an er ending

Words spelt with the /k/ sounds spelt ch (Greek in origin)

A Writing Root is available for Cinnamon.

Writing Root Overview:


Diary entries, informal letters, dialogue, adverts, limericks and other poetry forms

Main Outcome:

Own version fable


16 sessions, 3+ weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

This is a three-week plus Writing Root using Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman in which children begin by making inferences about the characters and situations in the story. They go on to consider the emotions of characters including Cinnamon herself (in the form of diaries) and also of their parents when creating adverts. There is explicit teaching of the conventions of dialogue through drama and children go on to write a story in the style of Cinnamon using speech.

Synopsis of Text

In a hot, hot country, ringed with mountains on one side and jungle on the other, lives a princess called Cinnamon. Her eyes are made of pearls, which means that she is blind. And, for reasons her parents the Rajah and Rani cannot fathom, she will not talk. So they offer a reward to anyone who can teach Cinnamon to speak. People travel from far and wide to attempt it, but nothing works. Until a mighty tiger, huge and fierce, prowls into their palace and announces that he is here to teach the girl-cub to talk.

Text Rationale:

Cinnamon is a modern fable, set somewhere in the Indian subcontinent and features a blind and initially mute protagonist. It is primarily the story of a girl who overcomes adversity and finds strength in an unusual friendship, but is told with a huge amount of wit and humour.  The colourful illustrations, by Divya Srinivasan, are stunningly vivid and bring Neil Gaiman’s words to life. It is a great book to spark learning about India. Neil Gaiman is a much-celebrated author, also known for Coraline, Wolves in the Walls and American Gods.

Links and themes:

India, Sri Lanka, unusual friendships, independence, freedom

Date written: February 2019

View Cinnamon Writing Root

Literary Leaves within the same Literary Theme

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