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New Anglo-Saxon Times

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By David Clayton

This virtual newspaper comes complete with pictures and hot spots to click for further information, ‘Did you know’ facts, and even an Anglo-Saxon recipe.

There are four main sections covering four key events:

597AD – Christianity arrives in Thanet; 625AD – the Longboat burial at Sutton Hoo; 879AD – Alfred’s cake disaster and 1014AD – The fall of London bridge. The resource is ideal for looking at journalistic style, fact and fiction and editorial point of view.


Shared learning and teaching

Before reading

Hold a discussion about Anglo-Saxon times to find out what the children know about this time period.

Shared reading

  • Talk about the dates on the title page to give the children an idea of the timescale and how far in the past they are.
  • Read through the first report, about Christianity, and discuss the names of those featured. How are the names different to today? Why would the people in Anglo-Saxon times have had names like these?
  • Look at the sub-headings Wild and brutal and Watch this space. How has the writer used language here to draw the reader in? Why?
  • Read the other stories, discussing as you do when it is helpful to click on the hot spots, etc, for more information.
  • As you read, collect unfamiliar words and group them by predicted meaning. Later, check your definitions against those in a dictionary or reference book.
  • Look for examples of persuasive language and formal and informal language in the text.

More great newspaper resources

Newspaper Maker (On-screen resource, Literacy Time PLUS Ages 9 to 11, September 2008, Issue 56). An interactive newspaper maker, enabling children to design and make their own front page using sets of reporter’s notes and quotes.

The Diamond Theft (Film and poster, Literacy Time PLUS Ages 7 to 9, July 2008, Issue 60). A television news broadcast about the theft of a diamond, complemented by an A2 poster offering a written news report of the same story.


  • When do the children think this newspaper was written? How do we know it is not a genuine Anglo-Saxon text? Discuss how the writer has built historical fact into each newspaper story.
  • Reflect on the use of text and pictures in the newspaper and how they aid and enhance understanding. Many of them add further background information while the main story can also stand on its own. Why was there a recipe attached to the story about King Alfred? What does this remind them of?
  • What key facts did the children learn from this text? Was all the information new to them?
  • Discuss what the children know about trade. Using the information provided in this newspaper, can the children say how trade was different in Anglo-Saxon times?
  • Ask the children to complete the SAT-style sheet below.

Group and guided activities

  • Invite the children to bring in a copy of a newspaper – broadsheet, tabloid, local or international news. Investigate the headlines of today and compare with the headlines and sub-headings in the New Anglo-Saxon Times. Has the language used changed through the ages?
  • Follow the recipe and make the crumble. How accurate/easy to use were the instructions?

Links with ICT

In groups, create other stories for an Anglo-Saxon newspaper, writing headlines, laying out the pages on screen and researching some key background facts using the internet. Use other features seen in modern newspapers – eg, quotes pulled out from the text, vox pops or ‘top ten’ lists.

Literacy Framework

See the Using this issue chart here to identify the Learning Objectives covered by these activities, to track progression from Year 4 through to Year 7, and to identify links with Year 5 and 6 Planning Units.

Speaking and listening

  • Create a piece of drama for the section of the text ‘Where did the body go?’.
  • Ask a group to improvise the scene where King Alfred arrives at the humble home. How would the family have reacted? Did he burn the cakes? Encourage them to think about the different viewpoints of those involved. A second group could be on-site reporters, recording incidents as they happen using notes, a tape recorder or a digital camera.


  • Use the plenary to watch/share/feedback on drama performances or the children’s news reports. Comment on the language used.
  • Discuss what the children have found out about Anglo-Saxon times from this resource. What themes were investigated in the newspaper?