A Story Like the Wind / During Reading / /

Investigating ‘Bow’

An investigation of the tier 2 word bow, which has multiple meanings.

Lesson length: 1 session

Lesson from A Story Like the Wind series

Required reading: 24

Text potential

  • Vocabulary: Tier 2 vocabulary

Strategies used

  • Vocabulary: Blended Approach


Over 70% of English words have multiple meanings. Many of these words have an ordinary everyday usage which can confuse children when they meet the word in an unfamiliar context. Developing depth of vocabulary knowledge is as vital as developing breadth. Children are supported in their metacognitive thinking if they understand that words can have multiple meanings and be encouraged to think about this when they see a familiar word that does not appear to make sense in context. 


  • Dictionaries including an etymological dictionary.
  • Whiteboard or flipchart for drawing.


There is more than one meaning for the word ‘bow’ used in this story. Bow is a tier two word (Isabel Beck et al.).

  • What does the word ‘bow’ used on page 24 mean?
  •  Can you think of any other ways in which this word is used? 
    • bow as in rainbow, 
    • take a bow at the end of a performance
    • the bow of a ship 

Note the differences in pronunciation.

  •  Can you see connections between the different usages of the word?

 Look up the word ‘bow’ in an etymological or word origins dictionary.

  • Could the word ‘bow’ be applied to any other aspect of this story? (For instance, the Dark Lord wants Suke and the White Stallion to bow to his will.)

Final reflection

Quick challenge. Gather the class. Use the whiteboard for a drawing challenge. Ask for volunteers

  • Can you represent two different uses of the word ‘bow’ visually to show the connection between them?

For example, they could draw a person bending at the waist (bowing) the bend in an archer’s bow or the arch of a rainbow. The bow of a ship has a similar origin meaning the bent part of the ship.

Key vocabulary



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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