Grandma Bird / During Reading / /

The Raging Storm

Using percussive instruments to interpret the storm.

Lesson length: 1 session

Lesson from Grandma Bird series

Required reading: Whole book


  • English
  • Reading

Strategies used

  • Drama Strategies: Soundscape


Creating a class Soundscape is a creative way to explore the mood and atmosphere of a story at critical moments. It works particularly well if there are moments of tension or contrast.


  • Download the storm sound file.
  • Print the storm sound cards.
  • Make available a large sheet of paper for recording the sounds.


Ask the children to close their eyes while you read the text. (Some children prefer not to close their eyes and can be encouraged to imagine in their minds-eye).

Outside, the sky swirled black and grey. A storm was brewing. Noi listened as the sea thrashed against the rocks, and rain began trickling down the walls. Suddenly with a flutter and a squawk, something tumbled out of the storm and landed in Noi’s cave.

Ask the children:

  • What sounds can be heard?
  • What noises does the wind make?
  • What noises have you heard when there is a storm?

Play the sound file of a sea storm to support thinking.

There are three distinct phases to this section:  

  1. The storm thrashing against the rocks
  2. Rain trickling down walls
  3. Flutter and squawk of the bird.

Focus on each part in turn.

Say, ‘I wonder which sounds would go best with this part.’ Use the sound word cards to support the discussion

  • Which of these words best describes the sound we might make here?

Take suggestions from the children and invite them to talk to a partner and then choose a sound to make. This could be with their voice, body, or a percussion instrument.

Share some of the children’s sounds. Say, ‘I wonder how I could show this on paper?’. Model how you could record the sounds, thinking aloud to make your process visible to the children. Invite suggestions and encourage the children to record them with you.

Repeat with the other sounds.

Next, create a composition. You can add sounds more than once to develop repetitions and patterns.

Split the class into three groups, allocating each part to a different group.

Reread the text, this time with the sounds played to accompany the reading.

Final reflection

Invite the children to consider how well they interpreted the story with their soundtrack. Ask:

  • Which part worked best?
  • Would you change or add anything?

Key vocabulary

thrash, thrashing, trickle, trickling


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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