Greenling / After Reading / /


Finding the message.

Lesson length: 1 session

Lesson from Greenling teaching sequence

Required reading: Whole book

Text potential

  • Genre: Fable
  • Literary features: Moral
  • Theme: Nature and technology
  • Theme: Sustainability


  • Talking Points


On one level Greenling could be read as an environmental fable. In this session, the children consider whether Greenling has a moral message and what that message might be. 


  • Copies of Greenling, at least one book between two
  • Story morals handout, one sheet between two.



  • Do you know what a fable is?
  • What fables have you read or heard? 

They may have heard of Aesop’s fables, e.g. The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, The Hare and the Tortoise, The Fox and the Stork or The Lion and the Mouse.

A fable is a story which has a moral. It aims to teach us something.

Briefly refresh the children’s memories of fables. 

The moral of The Hare and the Tortoise is ‘slow and steady wins the race’. The moral of The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse is ‘live happily with little and be content’, rather than live with but in fear all your life. The moral of The Lion and the Mouse is mercy brings its reward.

The moral of Greenling is more ambiguous than many of Aesop’s fables.

Distribute copies of the story morals sheet.

In pairs, ask the children to discuss which moral they think best fits Greenling. More than one moral may apply, but they need to choose the best fit.

Ask them to find three pieces of evidence to support their choice.

Final reflection

Gather the class. 

Find out which moral had the most votes. If there are two close choices, invite the children to justify their choices to each other.

  • Which was the most convincing evidence?


Key vocabulary

fable, moral

Subject-specific and technical vocabulary 
Academic process words 
Advanced vocabulary 
Morphological investigation 
Etymological investigation 


BBC Schools: The Hare and the Tortoise

Here’s a link to a version of The Hare and the Tortoise.

Visit resource

Story morals handout

greenling morals


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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