William Shakespeare / Before Reading / /

Front Cover Clues

Posing questions by looking at the front cover image.

Lesson length: 1 session

Lesson from William Shakespeare series

Text potential

  • Inference opportunities: Character Inference
  • Visual language: Cover design

Strategies used

  • Discussion and Dialogue


Good readers make predictions and pose questions continuously as they read. This lesson makes this process explicit to the children.


  • Display the Front Cover slideshow.
  • One copy of the First Impressions resource, enlarged to at least A3. 


Look at the image of Shakespeare from the front cover, keeping the text hidden. Ask:

  • What do we know about this person from this illustration? 

Take feedback from the children and write down responses. Distinguish between factual observations, for example, he has a moustache, and those which are inferred, for example, he is a rich person. 


Move on to the Quescussion: a quickfire question session in which the children generate ‘I would like to know…’ questions about the man they can see.

The children must only use questions, and they must not answer or comment on each other’s suggestions. If a statement is offered instead of a question, everyone shouts ‘STATEMENT’. If this happens, the child makes an attempt to rephrase as a question – supported by the teacher, if needed.

Conduct the Quescussion. Record the children’s questions on the whiteboard or flip chart. They will be needed for future reference. Reveal the text on the front cover (without revealing the name) and give further time to ask questions as well as noting if any questions can now be answered. 

Share the enlarged First Impressions sheet and invite the class to contribute to the different sections using the three headings:  I know, I can infer, and I want to know. This could be displayed to refer back to it as you progress through the sequence. 

Final reflection

Reveal the title of the book and ask:

  • Have you heard of William Shakespeare? 
  • What do you know about him?

Key vocabulary

infer, moustache, earring

Additional vocabulary

quill, ruff


Front Cover slideshow

Front Cover Slideshow

First Impressions resource

First Impressions_TOB


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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