The White Fox / During Reading / /

Road Trip

Exploring the illustrations and the effect they have on the reader.

Lesson length: 1 session

Lesson from The White Fox series

Required reading: Pages 33-46

Text potential

  • Visual language: Shape

Strategies used

  • Close Reading


Often illustrations contain details that can help children think about the text in greater depth. In a highly visual world, it is essential to teach children to be critical readers of images. Patterns of light and dark are used to draw attention to key features, to create a mood, or add an atmosphere to an illustration. The organization, size, perspective, and framing of the illustrations assist readers in adopting a stance to the characters in the story. 


  • Copies of The White Fox, at least one per pair


This lesson begins with the teacher reading chapter five and six aloud. Do not show the illustrations as you read. Reflect on the decision made by Sol’s dad to make the journey to Alaska. Ask:

  • Do you think Sol’s dad is pleased he agreed to take Sol and the fox home?
  • Has anything changed on the journey?

Organise the children into pairs. One child should have a copy of the book and turn to the illustration on page 36-7. The other child needs a piece of plain paper and a pencil. One child should describe the illustration while the other the other draws. Tune in to the descriptions, noticing the type of language the children use. When they have finished, they should look at the illustration together and discuss the following questions:  

  • Is there a specific part of the illustration that attracts your attention? 
  • What range of colours is used?
  • How do the colours make you feel?
  • Are colours used to draw your attention to important parts of the picture?
  • How are the characters positioned in the picture in relation to the reader?
  • Do you notice anything about the way line and shape are employed? 
  • Is there a frame around the picture?  
  • Is there one word you would choose to capture the emotions in this image?

What can you tell from this picture about :

  • The relationship between the boy and the fox? 

Final reflection

Ask pairs to discuss:

  • If there was an illustration of Sol and his dad at the end of chapter 6, what would it show?

Share ideas with the class. 

Key vocabulary

position, frame, light, dark, colour, shape


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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