Banished, Bewitched, Cursed


Some of the vocabulary in chapter three is likely to be unfamiliar to young readers. Using the context is a helpful strategy to work out the meaning of unknown words.


  • Selection of dictionaries. This should include different levels and different publishers as definitions vary.
  • Vocabulary journal.
  • Copies of Banished Synonyms and Antonyms.


Begin by reading aloud from the start of the chapter to page 27. Draw attention to the word ‘banished’. Ask:

  • Do you think Wendell was happy to be banished? 
  • Can you tell me why you think that? 

Model re-reading the sentence containing the word ‘banished’ but omitting it when you read. Explain that if you are not sure of the meaning of a word one, You can try leaving it out to see if the whole sentence helps you work out what the missing word means.

Teacher’s note: It is not uncommon for children to think of the word vanished when trying to think of the meaning of banished.

Give a list of potential meanings from the context: 


sent away



  • Which one makes the most sense and why? Ask the children to discuss in pairs,
  • Are there any other words in the sentence which might help you understand the meaning of ‘banished’? (Understanding what ‘set adrift’ means will help.

Next use at least two dictionaries to look up definitions. As you will see from the table below, using a range of dictionaries can lead to a discussion about subtle nuances in definitions. 

  1. Send (someone) away from a country or place as an official punishment.
  2. Get rid of (something unwanted)
Merriam-Webster online dictionary
  1. to require by authority to leave a country
  2. to drive out or remove from a home or place of usual resort or continuance
  3. to clear away: dispel
Cambridge Dictionary
  1. to send someone away, especially from their country, and not allow them to come back:
  2. to get rid of something completely

Give out a set of word cards Banished synonyms and antonyms. These words are synonyms or antonyms of banish. Clarify the meaning of synonym (close similarity) and antonym (opposite) if needed. Check understanding of the meanings on the cards. You can change the level of difficulty by adding or omitting cards but do retain some challenge as this is intended to extend vocabulary.

Ask the children to sort words into two piles; words which they think have a similar meaning to ‘banish’ and those which do not. The crucial part of this is the discussion around the words and the reasoning behind the decisions made. Give time for the children to move around and look at the decisions that others have made. 

Finish reading to the end of the chapter. Check understanding by asking: 

  • Why was he banished? 
  • How does the King react? 
  • Do you think the people in Wendell’s homeland reacted in the same way?

Final reflection

Now that a new word has been learned, try using it in different contexts. Challenge the children to come up with different sentences using the word ‘banished’. 

  • Where else could you be banished from? 
  • Can you be banished from a classroom, football pitch, garden? 



This lesson provides an opportunity to consider what children know and what they infer about the characters. It makes explicit to hem when an inference is being made.


  • Download copies of the Character Table, one between two.
  • Copies of Grey Island Red Boat, at least one between two.


Read Chapters 4-6 aloud. You might offer the children the choice of following the text or just listening to you read. Different people find it easier to process information in different ways. Make it explicit when you offer the choice that they should think about the best way they can absorb the story.

After reading to the class, ask the children to work in pairs and read the chapters for a second time. They can do this by reading alternate pages, or reading along together as best suits their needs.

Distribute copies of the Character Table. Assign characters to pairs of children and ask them to identify information about the character. Use this information to complete column 2

Character Information Inference (using information from the text)
The King
Princess Opal
Wendell Lightfoot
The Dungeon Master

 Gather the class together. Now ask them to consider what the information tells us about a character. For instance, the Dungeon Master agrees to help Wendell escape. From this, we might infer he is kind and generous.

Final reflection

Predict what will happen next to the characters. Explain that when we make predictions, we use our knowledge of the characters and the way they have behaved so far as well as our knowledge of other stories. You could prompt the children by asking questions such as:

  • How will the King react when he finds out that Wendell has escaped? 
  • Who will get the blame for the escape? 
  • Will the Dungeon Master tell the King that Princess Opal has gone with Wendell?
  • Do you think Wendell and Princess Opal will get away safely?
  • Where might they go? 

It may be helpful to share some prompts to support responses:

  • I think ….because
  • I wonder if …
  • I think ….will happen ….because…