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Anthony Legon


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A Spelling Seed for Firebird


KS: Upper KS2

Year Group: Year 5

Literary Theme: Mystery & Truth

Author(s): Saviour Pirotta


This is a two-session spelling seed for the book Firebird by Saviour Pirotta.  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

criticise (critic + ise), embarrass, excellent, marvellous, recommend, sincerely, soldier

Spelling Rules and Patterns

Words containing the suffix –ate, –ify, – en

A Writing Root is available for Firebird.

Writing Root Overview:


Formal letters, retellings, character descriptions

Main Outcome:

Fairytale narrative


10 sessions, 2 weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

This is a two-week Writing Root for Firebird by Saviour Pirotta and Catherine Hyde, in which children begin by making predictions about the story theme and events by exploring images and props from the story, as a golden feather arrives in the class. Children continue to explore new language used within the book and use this to retell, describe and eventually plan and write their own version of a fairytale story, using devices similar to those in the text.

Synopsis of Text:

The firebird is stealing the tsar's famous golden apples. His two oldest sons fail to capture the bird, so their younger brother, Ivan, must set out on a quest to find it. Befriended by the wise grey wolf, Ivan wins the firebird and the hand of the beautiful Princess Helen.

Text rationale:

This lyrical tale, retold by award-winning children’s author Saviour Pirotta, was the inspiration for Stravinsky’s famous ballet of the same name.  Rich in literary language, and supported by hand-painted illustrations by Catherine Hyde, children will be captivated by the magical world of Russian folklore. The story follows a clear and repetitive structure, which children can use to inspire their own story writing and links can be made to themes of freedom, destiny and challenging expectations and desires. 

Links and themes:

Traditional tales, Russia, folklore, justice, freedom, destiny, challenging expectations

Date written: December 2015

View Firebird Writing Root

Literary Leaves within the same Literary Theme

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