The White Fox / Before Reading / /

‘They say the eyes are the window to the soul.’

Close looking at the eyes on the front cover.

Lesson length: 1 session

Lesson from The White Fox series

Text potential

  • Visual language: Body Language: (gesture, posture, gaze and expression)
  • Inference opportunities: Prediction

Strategies used

  • Visual Literacy: Picture Reveal


A close analysis of the front cover is one way of introducing a new book. Careful thought usually goes into selecting the cover illustration, and a team makes the final decision. The purpose is to provide the reader with an indication of the type of story. A cover has to appeal to the intended readers and give some information without giving too much away.

The illustration of the fox dominates the front cover of The White Fox. Readers make predictive inferences about the relevance of the different elements and how they might contribute to the story. The picture reveal technique used in this lesson slows down the process of reading and makes the reader attend to details that might otherwise go unnoticed.


  • Slideshow Front Cover displayed on an interactive whiteboard.
  • Alternatively, you may want to provide a photocopy of the eyes of the fox, for the children to annotate. 


Begin by covering the lower part of your face with a scarf or piece of material. Ask:

  • Can you tell me if I am smiling or frowning? 
  • How do you know? (Draw out any changes in the appearance of your eyes.) 

Distribute A4 sheets of paper, one for each pair. Ask the children to take it in turns to cover the bottom half of their faces and to make a facia; expression.

  • Can your partner work out the expression that you are making just by looking at your eyes?

Share the image from the slideshow. Allow time for the children to share their first thoughts. Ask:

  • Who do you think these eyes belong to? 
  • Can you tell anything about this character’s feelings from their eyes? 

Annotate the image, taking contributions that describe any emotions suggested by the eyes. 

Reveal the rest of the cover image, keeping the title hidden. 

  • Does seeing the whole creature confirm your thoughts or change your mind? 

Finally, reveal the title. 

  • What kind of story might this be?
  • Have you read stories with foxes in before? 
  • How did the fox behave? 
  • Have you ever seen a white fox? 
  • Think back to the two places, Alaska and Seattle. Where would you be most likely to see a white fox? 

Final reflection

Share the quote:

‘They say the eyes are the window to the soul.’

Ask pairs to discuss what this means. Share thoughts. Consider what the word soul means. 

You might have heard the word ‘soul’ used in a religious context. When it is used in this way it means the spiritual part of a person. It can also be used to talk more generally about a person’s emotional depth or wisdom.

Key vocabulary



White Fox front cover slideshow

The White Fox front cover


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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