Grandma Bird / During Reading / /

Creeping, Hopping, Skipping

Using the Think Aloud strategy to consider word choice, with a focus on verbs.

Lesson from Grandma Bird series

Required reading: Whole book


  • English
  • Reading

Strategies used

  • Vocabulary: Blended Approach


Purposeful readers respond to and may consider why an author chooses particular words and phrases. In this lesson, the Think Aloud process draws attention to verb choice and the effect this has on the reader’s response and understanding.


Have available:

  • Copies of the passage
  • Highlighter pens
  • Base board and verb cards for the verb game
  • Whiteboards and marker pens for writing.


Re-read the section.

Find and highlight verbs in the passage. Depending on prior experience and knowledge, you may ask the children to work independently in pairs, or model with the class.

Identify the following verbs using a Think Aloud protocol to model how your understanding of word meaning develops in context. See the Grandma Bird Think Aloud exemplar, which can be used and adapted for the needs of your children.

In the exemplar, the following verbs are highlighted:

  • crept
  • hopped
  • pattered
  • spotted
  • weaved
  • skipped

Play the Verbs Game.

You will need the verb cards and base board.

How to play:

  • A large space such as the hall or playground is useful if you have one available, otherwise use the classroom.
  • The game is played in pairs or teams of three or four.
  • Each player needs a base board which has all the verbs written on for reference.
  • Take turns to choose a verb card.
  • The children move across the space in the manner of the verb written on the card.
  • Score a point for each correct guess.
  • If the player’s team can’t guess the word, can the other team players guess which verb they are portraying? If they can, then they win a point.

Final reflection

Choose one of the movement verbs from the story and model using it in a different sentence. Invite the children to share further examples.

Working in pairs or individually, ask the children to use whiteboards to write sentences with the same word or choosing one of the other words from the list.

Key vocabulary

crept, hopped, pattered, spotted, weaved, skipped


Grandma Bird movement verbs

Grandma Bird movement verbs.pdf

A set of cards that can be printed and cut out to support the Verb Game played in this lesson.


Nikki Gamble

Nikki Gamble
Director, Just Imagine
Nikki has worked extensively in schools across the UK and internationally. She is the author of Exploring Children’s Literature (4th edit) (2019) and co-author of Guiding Readers (2016) which was awarded the UKLA Academic Book of the Year Award 2017. Nikki is KS2 reading advisor and series consultant for Oxford University Press and content creator for the Oxford School Improvement and Oxford Owl websites. Nikki is Associate Consultant at the University of London, Institute of Education and Honorary Fellow at the University of Winchester

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Sam Keeley

Formerly a teacher and local authority advisory teacher, Sam now works with Just Imagine as an English consultant and manager of the year 6 Reading Gladiators programme.

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