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A Spelling Seed for Tar Beach


KS: Lower KS2

Year Group: Year 4

Literary Theme: Finding Freedom

Author(s): Faith Ringgold


This is a three-session spelling seed for the book Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold.  Below is the coverage from Appendix 1 of the National Curriculum 2014.

Spelling Seeds have been designed to complement the Literary Curriculum by providing weekly, contextualised sequences of sessions for the teaching of spelling that include open-ended investigations and opportunities to practise and apply within meaningful and purposeful contexts, linked (where relevant) to other areas of the curriculum and a suggestion of how to extend the investigation into home learning.

Spelling Seeds work alongside the texts within the Literary Curriculum and, as such, will also reflect the suggested number of weeks spent on a text, as well.


Word List Words

address, circle, fruit, library, possess(ion), through, dessert, quarter, woman

Spelling Rules and Patterns

Homophones and near-homophones

Possessive apostrophe with plural words

A Planning Sequence is available for Tar Beach.

Planning Sequence Overview:


Character descriptions, formal letter, book review, dialogue (direct speech), retellings

Main Outcome:

Own version narrative (written as a playscript)


15 sessions, 3 weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

This is a three-week planning sequence using Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold in which children explore the theme of ‘freedom’ and do so by creating their own story, written as a play script, where they master their own world by flying over it, eventually writing their own version of a ‘Tar Beach’ story about their own locality or chosen place. They will also create retellings, book reviews, character descriptions and dialogue.

Synopsis of Text:

Ringgold recounts the dream adventure of eight-year-old Cassie Louise Lightfoot, who flies above her apartment-building rooftop, the 'tar beach' of the title, looking down on 1939 Harlem. Part autobiographical, part fictional, this allegorical tale sparkles with symbolic and historical references central to African-American culture. The spectacular artwork resonates with colour and texture. Children will delight in the universal dream of mastering one's world by flying over it. A practical and stunningly beautiful book.


Dreams, New York, America, African-American, bridges, flight, quilts, storytelling

View Tar Beach Planning Sequence

Literary Leaves within the same Literary Theme

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