‘This looks like an ordinary box…’


Encouraging prediction can support readers to develop inference (Pallincsar and Brown 1984). This lesson involves children making predictions about the box, as well as clarifying language to give a broader understanding of vocabulary in the story.


  • Decorate a box to look like the box in the book (preferred option with potential for greater curiosity)
  • Alternatively, prepare an image of the box using the illustrations for display on the IWB.

Teacher’s note: be aware that it is estimated that 1-3% of people have aphantasia and are unable to see things in their ‘mind’s eye’. If this is relevant to a child in your class ask them to draw instead of imagine.


Begin by asking the children to picture a box in their ‘mind’s eye’. (The mind’s eye is like a television screen inside your head).

  • Describe your box to your partner.

Now, tell the children this is a magical box.

  • Tell your partner about the ways in which your box is magical.

Explain that THIS box is magical and mysterious because it never runs out of the thing it contains. Introduce the term neverending. Ask:

  • Do you know another word that has the same meaning as neverending? Write acceptable suggestions on the board. At this point, you might want to introduce the word ‘infinite‘. Some children may have heard the term infinity used to describe outer space.

Demonstrate how the word ‘infinite’ is constructed. In this instance, the prefix ‘in’ means not. And the root ‘finite’ means ending. So, infinite means no end. Neverending, endless and infinite all have the same meaning.

Now ask:

  • What could be inside the box?
  • Is there anything that you would like to have in a neverending supply?

Explain that the box has magical and mysterious properties.

Final reflection

Share the picture of the box.

  • Does the box look as you expected it?

Ask the children to work in pairs and write some sentences using the words neverending, endless and infinite.

Challenge them to listen out for other people using these words across the week. (You could prime other adults in school to use the words, in assemblies for example).


Before starting the hook, allow children to make prediction by looking at the front cover. Emphasise the word Extra- what does it mean in this case? Go through the vocabulary; magical, never-ending, endless, infinite, endless. Can they guess what they mean. Children can look at the dictionaries and find the definitions. What are the synonyms for these word? Can they use them in a sentence?

Extra, Extra


The word ‘extra’ should already be in the children’s vocabulary, but they may not have considered its meaning. This lesson explores what the word ‘extra’ means and its use in different contexts, before relating it to the story.


Have available:

  • large sheets of paper A3 or A1
  • a range of dictionaries.


Organise the class in small groups of 3 – 4.

Provide each group with a large sheet of paper, with the word ‘extra’ written in the middle.  Working with a partner, ask the children to create a sentence using the word ‘extra’. Next, write the sentences on the paper. You could model this process by saying something like, ‘I bought extra milk yesterday because my children keep using it up.’.

Further examples are:

  • I stayed in bed for an extra half hour this morning.
  • The football match went into extra time.
  • Yesterday was extra special because it was my birthday.
  • I had an extra helping of apple crumble.

Gather the class. Share and read the sentences.

  • What does ‘extra’ mean?
  • Can you work it out from the sentences that we have written?

Prompt them to think about the different contexts they have suggested. Does this help?

Working collaboratively, each group writes a definition. Display the definitions and read them aloud. Vote for the definition that the children feel explains the meaning most clearly. This can be annotated for precision and clarity if needed.

Now, use dictionaries to look up definitions. Use more than one dictionary to illustrate that definitions can and do vary.

Final reflection

Prompts for final reflection:

  • Can you use the word ‘extra’ in a new sentence?

Challenge the children to use the word ‘extra’ in as many correct ways as possible over the course of the week. Ask them to write and display their sentences on the working wall.

Review some good examples at the end of the week.


Encourage children to use the word 'Extra' in different context throughout the day. SEN: Children to use CT made sentence starters

Extra What?


This process develops the ‘Extra Extra’ first Encounters lesson and provides an opportunity for the children to apply their word knowledge to a new context. Children will also use the illustration to make predictions about the title.


  • Write the word ‘extra’ on the IWB.
  • Have available copies of the Extra Yarn front cover with the word ‘yarn’ masked so that it can’t be read.
  • Sticky notes for writing ideas.
  • Copies of Extra Yarn, at least one between two (do not distribute until the end of the lesson)


Write the word ‘extra’ on the board and explain that it is the first word in the title of a story.

Share the following words:

  • jam
  • happy
  • cats
  • cold
  • time

Thinking about alternatives, ask the children:

  • Which of these words would you prefer to be the second word? e.g. extra jam
  • What do you imagine might happen in a story with this title? e.g. extra Jam

Talk to a partner and list other words that could follow ‘extra’.

Now, share the front cover illustration with the word ‘yarn’ masked.

  • Does this give any further clues to the second word?

Ask the children to write their ideas on sticky notes.

Final reflection

Reveal the word ‘yarn’. The children should remember this word from the Orientation lesson. Ask them to share what they know about yarn with a partner.

Distribute copies of the book so the children can look more closely at the cover.

How does the cover reflect the title, Extra Yarn