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Pippa McGeoch

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A Spelling Seed for The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish


KS: Lower KS2

Year Group: Year 3

Literary Theme: Confidence & Caution

Author(s): Neil Gaiman


This is a three-session spelling seed for the book The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish 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

busy, experiment, favourite, length, perhaps, popular, probably

Spelling Rules and Patterns

The suffix -ly

More prefixes: re-, sub-, inter -, super -, anti, auto

A Writing Root is available for The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish.

Writing Root Overview:


Thought bubble, missing scene, diary entry 

Main Outcome:

Own version narrative


12 sessions, 2+ weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

This is a two-week plus Writing Root for The Day I Swapped my Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman.  Children will get to read and discuss the story, identifying the different characters and their voices by using dramatised reading. The book will be used throughout to identify the features and conventions of written dialogue and use of speech marks, which children will draw upon to write their own missing scenes from the book.  Children will consider the story from the perspective of Dad and write a diary entry in role.  The sequence of leaning culminates in children using the cliffhanger at the end of the book to write their own sequel using the structure of the original story to plan and write their own.

Synopsis of Text:

When a boy swaps his dad for two goldfish he does not really think through the consequences! After all, he is not the only person who can swap stuff. When the boy is told by his mother that he has to get his father back it is not so easily done. It seems that the father has a pretty high value as he has been traded by one child to the next leaving a trail that the son has to follow. Where will it all end?

Text Rationale:

This story written by prolific author Neil Gaiman will enable children to build their literary repertoire by exploring other titles such as The Wolves in the Walls, Crazy Hair and Coraline.  This story has a clear cyclical structure which will form the basis for children’s own writing.  The mysterious and slightly sinister nature of the illustrations will pique children’s interest and provide the starting point for discussions around decision-making and consequences.  

Links and themes:

Fantasy, playscripts, consequences, making decisions

Date written: March 2013              Updated: June 2020

View The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish Writing Root

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