A Story Like the Wind / During Reading / /

The Race

Reading aloud to develop fluency and appreciation of mood.

Lesson length: 1 session

Lesson from A Story Like the Wind series

Required reading: Pages 45-59

Text potential

  • Narrative features: Mood
  • Narrative features: Suspense

Strategies used

  • Fluency Approaches


In literature, mood is a literary element that evokes emotion through the description of the setting, the author’s tone, themes and diction. This section A Story Like the Wind builds tension and excitement. The techniques used to create the mood are analysed through reading aloud and discussing the effects produced by word choice, sentence length and sentence construction.


  • Annotate pages 45 – 59 in advance to prepare for reading aloud.
  • Copies of pages 50 – 51 for groups to annotate.


  • Read aloud expressively to the class using pace, pause and volume to demonstrate how tension and excitement are built in this part of the story. Through your reading, you can demonstrate the contrast between the rising tension, the climax and the anticlimax.

After reading, share initial responses of what’s happening in the story.

  • What do you think will happen next?
  • What did you notice about the way I read the story? 

Make the point that when we read aloud, we can:

Vary volume from quiet to loud:

Practise counting from 1 – 10 starting with a bare whisper and 10 being the loudest volume.

Now try it in reverse: loud to quiet.

Play with emphasis

Try reading these lines emphasizing different words:

Just silence

Breath-held silence.

  • Which sounds better in the context of the story?  

Different emphases create different meanings. Some will sound effective others will not.

Experiment with pace

Try reading this section getting faster and faster. 

  • Does it sound better if you keep increasing the pace or if you slow down for the last clause? Which has the most impact?

But the moment the white stallion’s feet touched the soft grass, he tossed his head and raced after the back stallion. The white stallion was galloping faster than he had ever galloped before, his hooves thundering over the ground, his mane and tail streaming out behind him. The earth spun beneath them and it felt to Suke as if they were flying.

Distribute copies of page 50 – 51

Working pairs, ask the children to practise reading these pages. Encourage them to annotate the page to help them decide how to read.

Explain that the purpose is to experiment to discover which ways of reading best communicate the meaning.

  • Gather the children and ask what they found out from experimenting and practising reading.
  • Did you discover anything from trying things different ways of reading?


Final reflection

  • What emotions did you feel when you were reading this part of the story?

Explain that we call the emotional effect of a piece of writing the mood.

  • Discuss with your partner the words you would use to describe the mood of this passage.

Key vocabulary


stride, gallop, pick, pace, flared, streaming, flowed, thundering


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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