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A Spelling Seed for The Mysteries of Harris Burdick


KS: Lower KS2

Year Group: Year 3

Literary Theme: From Mystery to Discovery

Author(s): Chris Van Allsberg


This is a three-session spelling seed for the book The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsberg.  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

answer, certain, difficult, height, notice, possess(ion), reign

Spelling Rules and Patterns

Words with the /ʃ/ sound spelt ch (mostly French in origin)

Words with endings sounding like /ʒə/ or /tʃə/

A Planning Sequence is available for The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.

Planning Sequence Overview:


Diary entries, dialogue, setting description (atmospheric description), captions and titles

Main Outcome:

Own version mystery narrative


15 sessions, 3 weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

This is a three-week planning sequence that uses The Mysteries of Harris Burdick and also makes reference to The Chronicles of Harris Burdick and the Harris Burdick Website. Children begin by exploring the illustrations and creating mystery setting descriptions, using a variety of grammatical and authorial tools, going on to creating action, suspense and drama in their middle-sections and endings. In the final part of the sequence, children write their own mystery stories, based upon a place of local interest, of which they have collected  photographs or images, and publish them in a class collection for others to read.

Synopsis of Text:

Who is Harris Burdick? Where did he disappear to? And how was he going to finish his stories?

Chris Van Allsburg presents a series of loosely related drawings each accompanied by a title and a caption which the reader may use to make up his or her own story.


Mysteries, wordless

View The Mysteries of Harris Burdick Planning Sequence

A Learning Log is available for The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.

View The Mysteries of Harris Burdick Learning Log

A Home Learning Branch is available for The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.

Home Learning Branch Overview:

This is a Home Learning Branch for The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.  These branches are designed to support home learners to access literature-based learning using a selection of books we love from the Literary Curriculum.  They include purposeful writing suggestions, links to the wider curriculum so that texts can be used across other subjects, key questions as well as spelling or phonics investigations.

View The Mysteries of Harris Burdick Home Learning Branch

Literary Leaves within the same Literary Theme

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