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Pippa McGeoch

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A Spelling Seed for How to Live Forever


KS: Lower KS2

Year Group: Year 3

Literary Theme: From Mystery to Discovery

Author(s): Colin Thompson


This is a three-session spelling seed for the book How to Live Forever by Colin Thompson.  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

exercise, knowledge, length, library, ordinary, peculiar, weighty

Spelling Rules and Patterns

Words ending with the /g/ sound spelt -gue and the /k/ sound spelt -que (French in origin)

Endings which sound like /ʒən/

A Writing Root is available for How to Live Forever.

Writing Root Overview:


Lost posters, dialogue, setting and character descriptions, ledger entries, instructions, letters of warning

Main Outcome:



15 sessions, 3 weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

This is a three-week Writing Root for How to Live Forever by Colin Thompson.  Children begin by considering the pros and cons of living forever and whether this could in fact be dangerous.  They go on to explore the thoughts of the main character as he ponders whether to search for the book with the secret to eternal life and write a scene of dialogue between him and the four old men.  Children will continue to investigate the themes and ideas set out in the book, writing setting and character descriptions, a lost poster and a set of instructions for how to live forever.  The sequence of learning finishes with children writing a prequel to the main story where all previous learning is pulled together.   

Synopsis of Text:

Colin Thompson's books are mystical and complex, they will appeal to children and adults alike and demand to be returned to as there is always a new image to see, something more to catch the eye. Peter and his family live among the Quinces in the cookery section of a mystical library, and at night, when the library comes to life, Peter ventures out of his home to find a missing volume: How To Live Forever.

Text Rationale:

This is a thought-provoking story told as much through the illustrations as the text on the page.  Children will use deep levels of inference and draw upon critical thinking skills to discuss the story in detail.  Touching on themes of keeping secrets, facing dilemmas and doing the right thing, links could be made with historical contexts or PSHE.  

Links and themes:

Libraries, library, Ancient China, dilemmas, decisions, right vs. wrong

Date written: August 2015             Updated: April 2023

View How to Live Forever Writing Root

Literary Leaves within the same Literary Theme

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