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A Story Like the Wind / During Reading / /

‘Remember me. Remember my name.’

An introduction to the characters and making personal connections.

Lesson length: 1 session

Lesson from A Story Like the Wind series

Required reading: Pages 14-21

Text potential

  • Narrative features: Character development
  • Narrative features: Character representation
  • Literary features: Figurative Language: personification
  • Vocabulary: Literary uses

Strategies used

  • Discussion and Dialogue

Purpose

In this section, Rami’s fellow passengers introduce themselves, and we learn more about the lives they have left behind. Gill Lewis emphasises the fact that these are ordinary people who had perfectly normal lives until conflict that devastated their homes.

This lesson is designed to allow the pupils space to respond to the characters and their stories. It invites them to make connections with their own lives. It provides an opportunity to consider what they know and what they infer about the characters.

Preparation

  • Copies of A Story Like the Wind, at least one between two.
  • Download and print copies of the Character Table.

Process

Read the section aloud to the class. You might offer them the choice of following the text or just listening as you read. Different children process information in different ways. Make it explicit when you provide the option that they should think about the best way they can absorb the story.

After reading to the class, ask them to work in pairs to read the story for a second time. They can do this by reading alternate pages, or reading along together, as best suits their needs.

Distribute copies of the character table. Assign characters to pairs of children and ask them to identify information about the character. Use this information to complete column 2.

Character  Information  Inference (using information from the text) 
Nor                                              
Mustafa     
Bashar     
Amani     
Mohammed     
Yousef     
Hassan     

Gather the class. Now ask them to consider what the information tells us about each character. For instance, Yousef offers Rami some lemonade. From this, we might infer that he is kind and generous.

Language study

Now take a look at some of how Gill Lewis has employed language to convey symbolic meaning.

At the beginning of this section, Gill Lewis introduces the characters on the boat. The little girl is described: 

‘Amani is curled beside him, escaped in sleep.’

  • Why do you think Gill Lewis chose the verb escaped here? What does the word escaped suggest? How is it different from writing ‘deep in sleep’?

Make the point that in literature, writers may use a word that conveys more than one meaning at the same time.

At the end of this section, Rami takes his violin out of its case. Gill Lewis writes:

A violin lies sleeping on a bed of dark velvet with a bow resting alongside.

  • Are any of these words unusual for describing a violin? 
  • Why effect does this word choice create?
  • What do they make us think, and how do they make us feel? 

Revise the term personification.

Final reflection

After sharing what the children have found out ask:

  • Do any of the characters remind you of people that you know? Encourage them to think about character traits rather than the circumstance that the characters are in.

Teacher’s note: The Readers Theatre activity could follow this lesson.

Key vocabulary

 escaped, sleeping, bed, resting (literary usage)

personification

Resources

Contributors

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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