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Owl’s story

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By Antony LishakLiteracy Time PLUS Author-in-residence

The July 2009 issue of Literacy Time PLUS Ages 5 to 7 featured the story poster Baby Bear Comes Home, which followed the night-time adventures of Mummy and Daddy Bear as they retrieved their lost child from a school.

At the end, Owl rescued the three bears from the swiping claws of Basher the Cat by whisking them away to safety. In Leaflet 2, which is the second episode of the story by our Writer-in-residence, Antony Lishak, we catch up with Owl next morning as he tries to recover from his ordeal. Here are some suggestions to help you use the resource in class.


These Teachers’ Notes refer to the PRINT ONLY guided reading leaflet in Literacy Time PLUS for Ages 5 to 7, September 2009

Group and guided reading

Known and new

  • Read the story through, then refer back to Baby Bear Comes Home and discuss how Owl’s story is connected to it. Which aspects of this new story did we already know from the first episode? Now find aspects of the story that are new. More able children will be able to look at the two stories and make their own lists of ‘Things we already know’ and ‘Things that are new’. Younger or less able children may need prompting.
  • Give the children the following statements and ask them to classify them as either Known or New.
Owl lives in a tree.
Owl is afraid of the cat.
Owl has two owlets.
Owl shares his tree with a squirrel.
Basher has a bad temper.
Jessica has a brother.

Dialogue and characterisation

  • Both stories are full of dialogue – much of which appears in speech bubbles. Giving a character a distinctive voice helps to establish its personality in the mind of the reader. What do the children notice about the way Owl speaks compared to the Owlets and Squirrel? Owl speaks in a grown-up, considered way, reflecting his thoughtful outlook on life. Squirrel’s rather more impetuous nature is reflected in the way he reacts to the noise of the barking dogs from below.
  • Try to add some new speech bubbles to the story, using voices and language which seem to fit with the different characters. The downloadable character cards available here are perfect for this activity.
  • Use these speech bubbles to stimulate drama and role-play, acting out the story or improvising scenes from it.

Further reading

Baby Bear Comes Home by Antony Lishak was originally published by Heinemann Young Books as a Key Stage 1 Blue Bananas fiction book. Visit Antony Lishak’s website at to find out more about his books and his work in schools.

Read Antony’s blog at

What day is it?

Get the children to look at the two stories and ask them what day they think the excitement in the tree occurs. Tell them that the answer is not obvious and that they are going to have to apply their own knowledge to the stories to help them come up with an answer. It might help to suggest that you were baffled when you first read this and that you had to do some of your own deep thinking! Give the following questions and hints:

What did Jessica do for the day yesterday? (Answer: Go to school) What time of day is it in the story? (Answer: Morning – but not too early as neither Jessica nor her brother are wearing pyjamas.) So what day do you think it is? (Answer: Probably Saturday – yesterday was a school day and today they are at home.)

Literacy Framework

See the Using this issue chart here to identify the Learning Objectives covered by these activities, to track progression from Reception through to Year 3, and to identify links with Year 1 and 2 Planning Units.

Ideas for writing

  • Look at the final scene in Owl’s story. What have the Owlets made? Ask the children to design and make their own aeroplanes out of outdoor materials, such as twigs and leaves. They could draw and label their designs, list the materials they used and give their planes a suitable name.
  • Predict what might have happened next. Did the Owlets take off? What might have happened if they did? Perhaps the poor things crashed or perhaps they flew off on an adventure of their own. After sharing ideas in a group, invite the children to write the Owlet’s story. They children could use ordinary written narrative, or present their ideas through pictures, captions and speech bubbles, as in Baby Bear Comes Home.



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