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Donny Morrison

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A Spelling Seed for The Thames and Tide Club


KS: Lower KS2

Year Group: Year 3

Literary Theme: From Mystery to Discovery

Author(s): Katya Balen


This is a three-session spelling seed for the book The Thames and Tide Club by Katya Balen.  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

answer, certain, difficult, height, notice, possess(ion), reign

Spelling Rules and Patterns

Words with endings sounding like /ʒə/ or /tʃə/

Words with the /ʃ/ sound spelt ch (mostly French in origin)

A Writing Root is available for The Thames and Tide Club.

Writing Root Overview:


Persuasive letters and letters of advice, diary entries, weather reports, advertisements, dialogue

Main Outcome:

Own version fantasy narrative


15 session, 3 weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

This is a three-week Writing Root for The Thames and Tide Club, The Secret City by Katya Balen. The Writing Root begins with the teacher presenting some objects found whilst mudlarking. Amongst all these objects, there could also be a mysterious piece of jewellery which will kick off a mystery. If at all possible, we would strongly recommend taking the children mudlarking also (whether this is on a site by the Thames or a local river/coastline). Children will receive an advertisement from The Thames and Tide Club, asking for more mudlarks to join. Children will apply for a position in the club. Children will go on to write letters of advice, create setting descriptions (tourist brochure and a weather report), diary entries and practise writing dialogue as the narrative progresses. Based on the mysterious jewellery found earlier, children will write their own fantasy narrative, following the plot structure of this exciting story.

Synopsis of Text:

Clem and her friends Ash and Zara are members of the Thames and Tide Club! Every weekend they go mudlarking by the river, searching for treasures that have washed up on the shore. Clem has found old things, new things and a whole heap of rubbish. But one day, she finds something really special. Something magical that belongs in the river and must be returned to its rightful owner . or else.

Before they know it, the Thames and Tide Club are on the weirdest, wildest, underwater-iest adventure they could possibly have imagined on a mission to save Underwater London!

Text rationale:

This is an exciting story full of fast-paced adventure, zany characters and fantastical worlds written by the Carnegie medal-winning author Katya Balen. Rachel Dean is a well-known and prolific illustrator and she is also the illustrator for Dame Jacqueline Wilson. The text allows children to make connections with a rich tradition of books which take unsuspecting protagonists on a journey into a fantasy world: books such as Flotsam, Our Tower and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. This text also highlights the role of local groups and public spaces and how they play an essential role in building a sense of community for residents. The subject of mudlarking is an ideal way to get children outside and explore their local river or coastline, piquing their curiosity about history and geography. Themes – mystery, discovery, community, friendship

Links and themes:

London, Thames, river, mudlarking, mystery, discovery, community, friendship

Date written: November 2023

View The Thames and Tide Club Writing Root

Literary Leaves within the same Literary Theme

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