Grandma Bird / During Reading / /

Grandma Bird Story Wheel

Identifying key narrative events as a basis for retelling a story.

Lesson from Grandma Bird series

Required reading: Whole book

Text potential

  • Narrative features: Plot: circular structure


  • English
  • Reading

Strategies used

  • Comprehension: Summarising


The ability to summarise is essential as it shows that pupils can discern the most important elements in a story. Furthermore, the process of summarising improves memory. A story wheel is used in this lesson as it illustrates the circular nature of a home-away-home (also known as voyage-return) story.


  • Copies of the Story Wheel, enough for one between two.


Begin by distributing copies of the Story Wheel to pairs of children.

Explain that each section can be used to show a key part of the story.

It can be interesting to ask children to complete the Story Wheel independently as this allows you to assess their ability to choose the most critical parts of the story.

Alternatively, you can build understanding by completing this as a whole class or in groups. If children need more support, you could give them a list of events form which to select the most relevant. Possible events:

  • Noi arrives at Grandma’s island
  • Noi is bored and creeps out
  • Noi plays on the beach
  • Noi hides from the storm and finds the bird
  • Grandma rescues Noi and the bird
  • Noi returns home with Grandma Bird

Final reflection

How did you choose which events to put in the Story Wheel and which to leave out?

  • Did you all agree on the beginning?
  • Did you all agree on the ending?
  • Are there any differences between your story wheels?

Key vocabulary

event, happen


Story Wheel

Use this Story Wheel graphic organiser to summarise the plot of this home-away-home story.

Story Wheel Grandma Bird


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

Read more

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.

Read more