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By Moira Andrew—Author and Poet

The well-known Ancient Greek myth about Icarus and Daedalus has been retold here by Moira Andrew specially for Literacy Time PLUS.

These teachers’ notes accompany the PRINT ONLY guided reading leaflet in Literacy Time PLUS Ages 5 to 7, March 2009.


Before reading

  • Talk to the children about Greek myths. Do they know of any other stories that are Greek myths? Show them a selection that you may already have from the school library or that you have found on the internet.
  • Look at the titles and discuss what the stories might be about.

Previous learning

Children should be able to: read simple words and texts; show an understanding of the main elements of stories, such as main character, sequence of events and openings; retell narratives in the correct sequence, drawing on the language pattern of stories.

Key learning outcomes:

  • To retell stories, ordering events using story language;
  • To read more challenging texts using their acquired phonic knowledge and skills, to automatically recognise high and medium frequency words;
  • To identify main events/characters in stories, and find specific information in texts;
  • To use syntax and context when reading for meaning;
  • To make predictions showing an understanding of ideas, events and characters;
  • To know how to tackle unfamiliar words that are not completely decodable.

Reading the text

  • Look at the title of the guided reading leaflet and ask the children what they think the story might be about.
  • Guide the children to specific words in the text that they might find hard to read such as Daedalus, Icarus, King Minos, labyrinth. Remind the children of strategies previously learned for working out unfamiliar words.
  • Tell them that as they read you will be particularly listening for good use of expression.
  • Encourage the children to read through the leaflet at their own pace as you listen to individual children.
  • Tell them to stop reading when they reach the end of the main story. Ask them not to read the text in the box at the end.

Responding to the text

  • When the children have finished reading the text, ask them what they think the story teaches them. Then tell them to read the text in the box at the end to see if their suggestions were the same as the author’s.
  • Ask some of the children to demonstrate their good examples of using expression while reading, to encourage the rest of the group. Reread parts of the speech in the text together to practise this skill.
  • Ask the children who the main characters were in the story. What did they think of each character? What words would they use to describe each character?
  • Talk about words they found difficult to read. What strategies did/could they use to work them out?

Follow-up to guided reading

  • Do a hotseating activity, where one child takes on the character of Icarus and the rest of the class asks him or her questions.
  • Ask the children to retell the story in their own words. They can either word-process or write it.
  • Dramatise the story in small groups. Make appropriate props and work out what each character would say.
  • Invite the children to read another Greek myth and retell the story to a friend.
  • They can also reread the leaflet with a friend and talk about the words that they find difficult to decode. Encourage them to work together to use different strategies to decipher the word. If they cannot work it out together, encourage them to write it down and talk to you or your teaching assistant about it.
  • Ask the children to work in pairs to highlight the words that have two syllables in one colour and three syllables in another colour.
  • Have a copy of the Year 1 and/or Year 2 high frequency word lists available for the children and ask them to write down the ones that appear in the story.

Further reading

Greek Myths for Young Children Heather Amery and Linda Edwards (Usborne Gift Book, 978 07460 37256).

The Orchard Book of First Greek Myths Saviour Pirotta and Jan Lewis (Orchard, 978 18412 17758).

Moira Andrew Author Profile A Literacy Time PLUS Author Profile for you to download.

Using the activity sheets

  • Children can use the activity sheet below to rewrite their own versions of the story. Remind them to use interesting words and correct punctuation.
  • Use the activity sheet below to help you with assessment of the children’s reading skills and abilities. More detailed Reading Progress Charts are available to download from our website.



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