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Jen Sutherland


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A Spelling Seed for Paradise Sands


KS: Upper KS2

Year Group: Year 6

Literary Theme: Utopia vs. Dystopia

Author(s): Levi Pinfold


This is a three-session spelling seed for the book Paradise Sands by Levi Pinfold.  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.


Common Exception Words

apparent, government, neighbour, parliament, thorough

Spelling Rules and Patterns

Homophones and other words that are often confused

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

A Writing Root is available for Paradise Sands.

Writing Root Overview:


Descriptive story opening, informal note of advice, formal letter in role, descriptive retelling, conversation between characters, book review

Main Outcome:

Narrative prequel


3 weeks, 15 sessions

Overview and Outcomes:

This three-week Writing Root is focused on Paradise Sands, a richly-illustrated text from Levi Pinfold which follows a young girl and her brothers who stumble upon a mysterious hotel while on a journey to visit their mother and are tempted and trapped by the dangers within.  The sequence of learning begins with children entering the classroom to find a delicious platter of fruit which is accompanied by an ominous note and a mysterious poem from the text hidden within. They debate whether to eat the fruit and share their reactions to the poem, before going on to explore the initial illustrations to the story and write a descriptive opening to set the scene. As they read the text, they are faced with numerous dilemmas to respond to in the form of discussion, informal notes and formal letters. There is a focus on using descriptive and grammatical devices to convey atmosphere and emotions as children retell parts of the story before finally creating their own narrative prequel to Paradise Sands, drawing upon the story structure and applying the skills they have developed over the course of the Writing Root.

Synopsis of Text:

Washed clean in his pool, we fall under his rule
Away from what is, for we are now his.

When a young girl and her brothers step into the ghostly Paradise Sands hotel, they fall under the rule of the mysterious Teller. She makes a deal with him to free them all from his haunting paradise. But can she hold up her side of the bargain?

Text rationale:

This book is a lot of things all at once: surreal fairy tale, dystopian fantasy, dark narrative, picture book. Portrayed through hauntingly cryptic artwork, the illustrations tell as much of the story as the words on the page and children will want to return again and again to decipher the hidden meanings. Throwing up more questions than answers, this eerie but captivating tale of perseverance, willpower and resistance will open up discussions around symbolism, family relationships, choices and consequences.  Levi Pinfold is a Kate Greenaway award winning author-illustrator known for his often-curious picture books; children may wish to explore his back catalogue after reading this title.

Links and themes:

Choices, consequences, perseverance, determination, will, family relationships, dystopian settings

Date written: December 2023

View Paradise Sands Writing Root

Literary Leaves within the same Literary Theme

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