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Street Child (extract)

1 January 2009

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By Berlie Doherty

This extract from Berlie Doherty’s novel Street Child is based on the true story of the orphan who inspired Dr Barnardo to set up his children’s refuge. The novel raises issues of poverty and child labour, and discusses themes like cruelty, injustice, resilience and humanity.

These teachers’ notes accompany the PRINT ONLY guided reading leaflet in Literacy Time PLUS for Ages 9 to 11, January 2009.

street-child-extract.jpg

Leaflet 2 offers a playscript version of the same story. Street Child is an Additional text-based unit for Narrative in the Literacy Framework for Years 5 and 6. Teachers’ notes and photographs can be downloaded from the ‘Planning’ section of the Framework website

Before reading

  • What do the children know about life for poor children in Victorian Britain? Have they read or seen a film version of Oliver Twist? Clarify what a workhouse was and explain how children might have ended up in one.

During reading

  • Read the first few paragraphs. How does the author convey Jim and his mother’s struggle? Which phrases emphasise this? Is his mother really just asleep? Predict her fate.
  • Stress the use of dialogue by asking individuals to role play different characters. Contrast Jim’s mother’s emotional last words with the use of short direct questions and orders by the adults around Jim.
  • Pause to list additional scene-setting information – eg, ‘it was growing dark’, ‘the snowy road’.
  • Notice how the descriptions and pace alter from noise, voices and movement before Jim enters the workhouse, to silent images and slow actions once inside. Provide headings: Sights; Sounds; Actions; Feelings; and find descriptions for each aspect.
  • Look at the use of similes in the description of the man and woman by the steps. Find other examples.
  • Find adjectives that emphasise the gloomy atmosphere of the workhouse.
  • Establish the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary – eg, infirmary, broth, shawl.

Previous learning

Children should be able to: respond to narrative texts; deduce a character’s reasons for his/her behaviour from his/her actions; use drama strategies to explore issues and interpret behaviour from different viewpoints; use settings and characterisation in their writing.

Key learning outcomes:

Year 5

  • To work in role to explore complex issues;
  • To infer writers’ perspectives;
  • To write own stories.

Year 6

  • To improvise/use drama strategies to explore themes;
  • To understand underlying themes, causes, points of view;
  • To use narrative techniques to engage/entertain the reader.

Responding

  • After reading, gauge the children’s reaction. How do they feel? Do they want to read on? What do they think might happen next?
  • Discuss what the extract teaches us about workhouses and the people in them.
  • Produce a timeline of events in the extract, showing how the story develops.
  • Complete the SAT-style response sheet on the activity sheet.

Speaking, listening and drama

  • Consider the viewpoints and feelings of different characters throughout the extract. Why did the children laugh and run away? Why do others move away when the police arrive? How did Joseph feel having to tell Jim his mother had died? Use the activity sheet below to record characters’ feelings.
  • Invite individuals to role play the different characters and explore their emotions and reasons for their actions. Is Jim the only victim? Are there other characters we should feel sorry for and empathise with?
  • Re-enact the extract as a mime, including all characters and details. Stress the importance of facial expression to convey meaning and thoughts.
  • Create a mock-up model of the workhouse hall using three sides of a box, cardboard and dark coloured paints. Think about scale: huge dark walls, high windows and long benches. Add cut-out characters to re-enact the scene as a play.

Further reading

  • Download a Berlie Doherty Author Profile.
  • On-screen resource 2 provides background information on life in a workhouse.
  • Poster 1 is an historical document providing a set of typical workhouse rules.
  • Leaflet 2 contains a play script version of the same story.
  • Literacy Time PLUS Ages 9 to 11 July 2007 (Issue 49) featured a multimedia resource exploring the Dickens novel Oliver Twist – with an audio reading and clip from the 1948 David Lean movie.

Ideas for writing

  • Ask a group to imagine they are inspectors writing a report on the workhouse. What would they find? What would their recommendations for changes be?
  • Use the activity sheet below to write witness statements in role.
  • Continue the extract, writing about Jim’s reaction to his mother’s death. Use similes and adjectives to expand on how he might have expressed his grief.
  • Write a synopsis of what might happen next to Jim, and how the story could develop.

Reviews

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  1. Rasnie
    on 9 November 2013

    My Amazment

    Love it when he gets found dont like mr spinke hes so mean

    5 out of 5

  2. shreya
    on 18 October 2013

    best book!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    best book ever. read it PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Aisha Ansar
    on 12 May 2013

    Street Child

    I have read this book in class and my teacher said I have to write a character analysis of Jim from street child !!

  4. Ria Shah
    on 7 March 2013

    Street Child

    I love this book, it has an AMAZING story line and leaves you with some questions at the end

  5. Mia
    on 27 January 2013

    Street child

    Cool

  6. adam
    on 25 January 2013

    street child

    Thomas john Barnardo (‘the doctor’) Dr. Thomas John Barnardo was what we might now call an extraordinary ‘social entrepreneur’. But who was he and what did he achieve? He was well known for his homes and training schemes, but what was his contribution to the development of youth work and social work practice? contents: introduction • thomas barnardo – life • barnardo and ragged schools •barnardo homes • child migration• ‘boarding out’ • dr barnardo and controversy • conclusion• further reading and references • links• how to cite this article Thomas John Barnardo (1845-1905) is a classically Victorian figure – evangelical, entrepreneurial and philanthropic. His crusade to ‘rescue children from the streets’ was one the best known social interventions in the last half of the nineteenth century. As Williams (1953: vii) has put it: In the short space of forty years, starting without patronage or influence of any kind, this man had raised the sum of three and a quarter million pounds sterling, established a network of Homes of various kinds such as never existed before for the reception, care and training of homeless, needy and afflicted children, and had rescued no fewer than sixty thousand destitute boys and girls. But who was Dr Barnardo, what did he achieve in his work with children and young people,, and what is his continuing significance? Thomas Barnardo – life Born in Dublin in 1845, the son of a furrier, Thomas John Barnardo’s childhood is somewhat blurred. As Rose (1987: 17) reports, as his fame grew, ‘so did the anecdotes and legends about him until they became folklore’. She continues, ‘much of the early history of his life and of the homes he wrote himself, but where his father’s family came from and how he spent his first years in London remains uncertain’. There are hints that his childhood was stormy and far from happy (ibid.: 20). His schooling included Sunday school, parish day school and St Patricks Cathedral Grammar School, Dublin. Thomas (Tom) appears to have had an independent spirit, reading radical writers like Rousseau and Tom Paine. He was seen as a troublemaker (becoming bored quickly with lessons) and was eloquent and argumentative. Tom Barnardo did not pass his public examinations and at the age of 16 was apprenticed to a wine merchant. Approaching his seventeenth birthday Thomas Barnardo experienced ‘conversion’ (on May 26, 1862). He became a strongly evangelical Christian ‘impatient to convert others, urgent for action’ (Rose 1987: 24). Barnardo began teaching Bible classes in a Dublin ragged school and became involved in home visiting. His mother and brothers were already members of the Plymouth Bretheren – which Barnardo also joined. He also became a member of the Dublin YMCA – and often gave talks there. His commitment to social work strengthened – and on hearing Hudson Taylor speaking in Dublin about the work of the Inland China Mission, Barnardo believed his future lay in such work. The Brethren provided him with a small allowance, and the plan was to first study medicine at the London Hospital (friends from Dublin YMCA gave him an introduction). Thomas Barnardo settled close to the hospital in east London (his first lodgings were at 30 Coburn Street, Stepney) in 1866 – although he does not appear to have begun his studies until 1867 (Wagner 1979). He appears to have thrown himself into missionary work in the East End visiting beerhouses, penny gaffs (little theatres), and homes – offering cheap Bibles and the word of Jesus. More than once he was attacked (suffering two broken ribs on one occasion). He also became involved in the Ernest Street ragged school (off Mile End Road) – and appears to have been a charismatic and engaging teacher. One of the stories associated with this period was of Barnardo’s first encounters with the ‘lays’ around Petticoat Lane where children slept. Thomas Barnardo frequently talked about this night, when he was taken by Jim Jarvis, a local lad, after a ragged school to visit the area (see Williams 1953: 54-7 for an account). What Jarvis told Barnardo about his life and the experiences of the other children had a profound effect. One his first steps was to set up a ragged school (see below). Figure 1.—im Jarvis was a boy who lived in 19th Century London. Jim was an orphan and lived on the street. There were lots of destitute children then who were either orphaned or abandoned and had no place to One cold winter’s night Jim was huddled around the fire in tatty but conventional clothes. These were ready made and most likely third hand clothes. He wore long trousers and a checked shirt. Over the shirt he wore a waistcoat. He wore a pair of worn out boots. The boy’s face was pale but filled with dignity and intelligence. The warm fire was inviting. The boy wanted to stay in the warm room and sleep on the floor. Thomas gentle spoke to the boy and said ‘time you went home.’ to which the boy replied that he had no-where to live. Barnardo did not believe him. He thought Jim must have a mum and dad waiting at home for him. Jim said he did not have parents and that he lived nowhere. Barnardo was astounded to learn that Jim had no friends and had nowhere to live. He could not believe what the boy was telling him when he said he spent the nights sleeping in a hay cart. It was a bombshell Jim dropped when he told Barnardo that there were lots of children sleeping on the streets. Jim offered to show Barnardo where the children slept. talking to Barnardo and time past all too quickly. It was time to go home. Barnardo sent the children away. He thought they were going ‘home.’ The only boy left was Jim. The boy was dressed It was around midnight when he went with the boy. Jim took Barnardo to a market in Houndsditch. Jim and Barnardo climbed a high brick wall. The boy and man looked over the wall and saw 11 sleeping boys huddled together. They were aged from 9 to 14. Barnardo was horrified by what Jim had shown him. He knew he had to do something to help these children. First he helped Jim. He let Jim stay at his lodgings that first night. The next day Jim was found lodgings, which Barnardo paid for. Jim took him on other night searches and before long Barnardo had 15 children whom he had found homes for. Barnado had made a start. Jim showed Thomas the appalling life that street children led. Night after night Barnardo was shown the hiding places where very young children slept. Ten year old, Jim Jarvis taught Barnardo where to look to find the children. They slept in barrels, on rooftops, under market stalls and anywhere in fact were they could sleep safely, sheltered from the wind and rain. Thomas Barnardo had some soul searching to do. He wanted to be trained as a doctor and go out to China to be a missionary. Jim had shown him a very real social problem in London’s East End. Should he stay in London and help rescue other destitute boys and girls? He was the only one who could make that decision. Jim was like all the other ragged children. Street Child is based on the true story of Jim Jarvis, a young boy who is left to survive on his own on the harsh streets of Victorian London after his mother dies. He is taken in by the compassionate Dr Thomas Barnardo. The play tells a story of bereavement, compassion and a young boy’s attempt to survive in a cruel world.

    By Adam smith

  7. Holly Russell
    on 23 January 2013

    READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    this book is very appealing to children all around the world gets a bit boring but twords the end it gets very exciting

  8. scott pitt
    on 7 November 2012

    street child

    the book street child i recomand to children all around the world it is a book about a boy called jim who is a orphan that runs away from the workhouse to find his sisters emily and lizie so all read street child

  9. Asia Abdillahi
    on 1 November 2012

    BEST BOOK EVER!!!

    I think it was amazing the saddest thing were when jims mother had died and when Jim friend shrimps had died too.

  10. Charlie
    on 22 October 2012

    Best book i have ever read

    SUPERcallafragilisticexpialodocious. Absoulutely amazing, fantastic, super and terriffic 11111100000/1

    5 out of 5

  11. chloe
    on 8 October 2012

    baker

    this book is boring!

  12. tabitha
    on 23 September 2012

    street child

    street child is a very sad book but nice ending my very favourie charater is tip because he is very out going and talkitive

  13. clo xxx
    on 19 September 2012

    street child

    enjoyable,tragic book amazing story about a boy called Jim

  14. tafadso
    on 13 May 2012

    Street Child

    Street Child Is THe BeSt

  15. mina
    on 17 March 2012

    street child

    i have just fineshed reading it in class and it has so much description and with the speach my teacher makes acents wich mack the book so amazing and imaginative with the speach read it i rate it 10/10!!! :)

    5 out of 5

  16. mark
    on 13 March 2012

    street child

    read street child as a class novel great book would advise you to read it :) !!!

  17. jim
    on 24 September 2011

    street child

    classe book!!!!!!!! well

  18. krysie
    on 6 July 2011

    good book

    Our teacher read it to us and i enjoyed it. I feel sorry for jim and shrimps. they went through some rough things

  19. Jasmine
    on 25 May 2011

    Street child

    I feel sorry for Jim and shrimps pluis tip because there having a hard time but i want to know what happens to Tip and Rosie Plus Emily and Lizze

  20. Anonymos
    on 23 May 2011

    This site

    I love the bbok street child and have read it over and over. Ireally meant something to me. the book hit home for me. However this site is not very good. I am doind a school project on Berlie Doherty and need a book extract. This site clearly said Berlie Doherty Street Child(extract). Therefore there should be and extract from the book. I apologize though if there is an extract that i did not see but i did find the title “extract” on this site and it was only a review.

    5 out of 5

  21. bethany
    on 6 May 2011

    street child

    i read this book with my class its amazing our teacher mrs graver gave us literacy work all to do with street child i loved the book and love the sweeps boy by the same author. MY STORY AND MY ROYAL STORY BOOKS ROCK.

    5 out of 5

  22. ketshia munira
    on 8 January 2011

    Street Child

    i love this video ebcause it makes me feel i should help the poor and not waste fiid when people out there are poor and hungry

  23. Amanda
    on 10 November 2010

    Street Child

    This book is brilliant! I could reccomend it to everyone I know!

    5 out of 5

  24. alexander
    on 30 September 2010

    street child

    are you sure it an good book not interesting for me at all

    4 out of 5

  25. Kirstin McCreadie Assistant Editor
    on 8 June 2010

    Street Child

    All the resources we have that link to Street Child can be found in the Teachers’ shop.

    To view them, please copy and paste this link into the address bar:

    http://shop.scholastic.co.uk/search/search?search[query]=street+child&log=t&age_type=age_range&now=query&search[department_id]=&x=0&y=0

    You could also email this link. I hope this is helpful.

  26. street child
    on 7 June 2010

    somthing

    you made a great story do you have it on dvd on the computer because i need to have the website so i can give it to my teacher