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Donny Morrison

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A Spelling Seed for The Lizzie and Belle Mysteries: Drama and Danger


KS: Upper KS2

Year Group: Year 5

Literary Theme: Belonging & Equality


This is a four-session Spelling Seed for the book The Lizzie and Belle Mysteries: Drama and Danger by J T Williams.  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

curiosity, disastrous, identity, desperate, correspond, suggest, shoulder, conscious, stomach, necessary

Spelling Rules and Patterns

Use of the hyphen

Words with the /i:/ sound spelt ei after c

Endings which sound like /ʃəl/

A Writing Root is available for The Lizzie and Belle Mysteries: Drama and Danger.

Writing Root Overview:


Posters, diary entries, case notes, letters, dialogue (quotations), character descriptions, fact files, persuasive speeches

Main Outcome:

Biography of Ignatius Sancho


20 session, 4 weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

This is a four-week Writing Root based around the book The Lizzie and Bell Mysteries: Drama and Danger by J.T. Williams. It begins with children entering the classroom which has been turned into a mini theatre. There is a poster (taken from the text) of the play Othello on the classroom door. Before children can watch the play, a mysterious and tragic incident occurs to the star of the show - Ignatius Sancho - and a mysterious note is discovered. Children are launched into the world of Georgian London and follow the burgeoning friendship and investigation of Lizzie and Belle who are determined to solve this mystery. Children are given opportunities to help Lizzie and Belle collect case notes as they go and write diary entries in role. Children also write for Stage Door magazine; make persuasive speeches at a meeting of the Sons and Daughters of Africa; and write a fact file about the significance of the Somerset ruling. As the narrative progresses, they are asked to write a biography of Ignatius Sancho for Stage Door magazine. Children research facts known about his life, then plan, draft and publish their final biographies as a celebration of Sancho’s extraordinary life. We would recommend using the book Black and British: An Illustrated History by David Olusoga alongside this text. Ensure that time is given between sessions to read the text. 

Synopsis of Text:

Twelve-year-olds Lizzie Sancho and Dido Belle are from different worlds – Lizzie lives in Westminster in her dad’s tea shop, while Belle is an heiress being brought up by her aunt and uncle at grand Kenwood House – but they both share a love of solving mysteries.

And when their eyes meet in the audience of the Drury Lane theatre one night, both girls are sure they’ve seen something suspicious on stage.

Lizzie and Belle soon find themselves on the trail of a mystery – and becoming best friends. But can they work out what’s going on in time to prevent a murder?

Text Rationale:

This significant book by J.T. Williams was shortlisted for the Waterstones 2023 Children’s Book Prize. A gripping historical mystery set in the heart of Georgian London’s theatreland, the story is inspired by real Black British figures and brings to life a crucial period in Britain’s past. Featuring two strong female protagonists, the book centres the lives of London's Black communities. The story provides a backdrop for children to understand the history of transatlantic slavery and its subsequent legacies, with a focus on Black resistance and positive representation.  Themes of empowerment, friendship and feminism are woven throughout. 

Links and themes:

Theatre, Georgian London, Black History, Black resistance, transatlantic slavery, mystery, friendship, feminism, empowerment

Date written: June 2023

View The Lizzie and Belle Mysteries: Drama and Danger Writing Root

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