William Shakespeare / Before Reading / /

The World’s Greatest Writer?

Exploring the children’s perceptions of the ‘greatest writer’.

Lesson length: 20 minutes

Lesson from William Shakespeare series

Text potential

  • Background knowledge: Authors

Strategies used

  • Discussion and Dialogue


The front cover of the book describes Shakespeare as ‘the world’s greatest writer’. This introductory session is designed to get children thinking about writers they know and also the qualities that they consider makes a writer great. 


  • Write the following sentence opening on the board: 
    • The world’s greatest … 


Ask children to discuss in pairs: 

  • How could this sentence end? 

Share ideas before adding the word ‘writer’ to the end of the sentence. Ensure each child has a sticky note and ask them to write the name of the person they think of when they see the sentence: 

‘The world’s greatest writer is …’ 

They should write the name down without any discussion at this point. 

Next, ask the children to stick the names onto either the whiteboard or another large surface. Invite the class to look at the names on the notes asking:

  • Do any authors appear more than once? 
  • Are there any authors you haven’t heard of before?

Final reflection

Introduce the terms, ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ by offering a statement like:

The greatest writer of all time is (insert name of author here). 

Ask the class:

  • Is this a fact or an opinion? 

Explain that this is subjective because it is a personal opinion. Others may agree or disagree.

Key vocabulary

author, greatest


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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