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Grandma Bird / After Reading / /

Returning to the Title Page

Reading the epigram and relating it to the big ideas in the story.

Lesson length: 1 session

Lesson from Grandma Bird series

Required reading: Whole book

Text potential

  • Literary features: Epigram

Subjects

  • English
  • Reading

Purpose

Sometimes readers are quick to get started on a book and miss out the endpapers and title pages. The title page of Grandma Bird has an interesting rhyming epigram, and it is worth considering why the author chose to insert it here. Returning to the poem after reading and reflecting on the themes of the story may bring new meaning to the poem.

Preparation

  • Copies of Grandma Bird or the title page and poem.

Process

Read the poem inviting the children to join you in repeated readings.

Read each line and have the children echo the line back – call and response style.

Rock to rock,

Eye to eye,

Side by side,

You and I.

Skimming blue,

Low and high,

I, the sea,

You, the sky.

Take the opportunity to explain the word ‘skimming’.

  • Have you heard or seen this word before?

They might have come across skimmed or semi-skimmed milk. Skimmed milk is the process of taking the top layer of fat off the milk so that it reduces the fat content in the milk. In this instance, skimming means moving quickly or lightly over a surface, like the sea, or through the air.

  • Has anyone ever played skimming stones? Skimming is throwing the stones across the surface of the water, so they bounce. Perhaps you can make a connection with skimming milk?

Show them where the poem is in the book (or ask them to find it). Ask:

  • Why might Benji Davies have chosen to put this poem here?
  • Who are the ‘you’ and ‘I’ referred to in the poem?
  • How does the poem fit with the story?

Final reflection

Invite the children to illustrate a copy of the poem with an image from the story, reflecting their thoughts from the earlier discussion.

Key vocabulary

skimming

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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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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