A Story Like the Wind / Before Reading / /

What Connects Us?

A hook to encourage enquiry and foreground children's knowledge

Lesson from A Story Like the Wind teaching sequence

Text potential

  • Background knowledge: Refugee experience


  • Immersive Hook


Children will come to A Story Like the Wind with a wide range of experience and knowledge. Some will have been personally affected by the issues raised. Others will know only what they have seen second hand on television or been exposed to in school. For some, it will be a very remote experience. This hook is designed to provoke children to thought and is best carried out at a week before you intend to start working with the story. It will provide you with an excellent assessment opportunity foregrounding children’s knowledge and attitudes, which you can then work from as you carry out this sequence of learning.


  • ‘A display of photographs of refugees that live in Britain. These should be wide-ranging and include people of different ethnicities. Include some famous people, adults and children. See resources for suggestions.
  • A large sheet of paper posing the question ‘What Connects Us?’


Display the photographs with the sheet of paper headed, ‘What Connects Us?’

Invite the children to think about this and to write their ideas on the paper. Do not give any clues or further information. Leave for a week so that ideas can be added.

Final reflection

After about a week, take down the paper.

Share the ideas and ask the children to explain them before telling them the answers. If you are using the images we have supplied, they are:

  1. Rita Ora (singer) was born in Pristina in former Yugoslavia and forced to feel the country during the war (1991 – 2001). She came to England with her family.
  2. Iman (model) was married to David Bowie was a refugee from Somalia in the early 1970s. She fled with her family and only the clothes on her back, first to Kenya and then the UK.
  3. Saido Berahino fled Burundi when his mother and father were killed in the civil war. He was just ten years old.
  4. Russian Yulia Skripal is the daughter of Sergei Skripal. They were both poisoned in an assassination attempt believed to have been committed by the KGB. She sought political asylum in the UK.
  5. Diep Quan fled Vietnam when she was nine years old with her father. They escaped by boat from Vietnam when the country was caught in a violent dispute between Cambodia and China in 1978 – 79. They were rescued from the dangerous seas by a Scottish cargo ship. She is now an IT consultant for a bank in London.
  6. The school children are Syrian refugees.
  • Does this information surprise you?


Key vocabulary

refugee, civil war

Subject-specific and technical vocabulary 
Academic process words 
Advanced vocabulary 
Morphological investigation 
Etymological investigation 


What Connects Us?

What Connects Us?


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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