Sequence of work for Grace and Family by Mary Hoffman



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Sequence of work for Grace and Family by Mary Hoffman

© CLPE 2007. This sequence is adapted and abridged from a sequence by Deborah Nicholson for The Power of Reading Project, CLPE



The teaching sequence lasts approximately 2 weeks




Session 1: Reading aloud and class reading journal


Before introducing this book reread Amazing Grace with children.

Afterwards discuss with children what they already know about Grace. Have ready prepared a large, class reading journal, that you will use to write down children’s responses to Grace and Family. Scribe children’s ideas around an enlarged image of Grace at the beginning of the journal.


Then talk about what children know about Grace’s family: who she lives with, which members of the family they have already met. You could list these.
Session 2: Writing in role

Read the first 2 double pages of the book. Show children an extract from Grace’s diary that you have written into the class journal. This will be an entry written before the invitation to Africa, eg I wish I had a dad who lived with me, I don’t have a proper family…


As a class, brainstorm Grace’s mixed feelings when she hears she is to go to visit her father in the Gambia. List these ideas in the class journal. Ask children to write a diary entry in role as Grace when she finds out she is going to visit her father. They could make or be given little books to write their diaries into.

Session 3: Role play

Read aloud the whole story.

Ask children to work in groups to create a freeze frame of Grace and her father, stepmother, nana and sister or brother. Give some time for groups to practise what they will do, and then each can show the class. Ask some of them to voice their thoughts in role.


Session 4: Drawing and annotating

Discuss with the class different kinds of families. Ask them to draw and annotate their own families and display these pictures.


Session 5: Discussion and writing

Talk to children about their pictures and Grace’s statement that her family isn’t right. What does Nana mean by ‘families are what you make them?’

Have a class circle time with a sentence to be finished A family is…

Session 6: Writing in role

Grace’s diary


Each day children should write in role as Grace in their diaries. These entries will be at key points in the narrative, eg:

  • Her first day with her new family

  • The visit to the market

  • Leaving Africa


Session 7: Visualising and painting

Talk about the market and ask children to close their eyes and try to visualise it. Ask them to describe to a partner what they could see. Then share some of these ideas. Reread the part of the book that focuses on the market. Ask children to say what they liked about the way this part is written and illustrated, and write their comments into the class reading journal.

Suggest children paint the market place.

Session 8: Discussion

Talk with the class about what they thought of the story.

Use the class journal to note down some responses to these questions.

Have a grid marked out ready on a page:


what we liked what we didn’t like


what puzzled us what it reminded us of…

Session 9: Writing in role: postcards


Invite children to write a postcard from Grace to her friend back in England, telling them about her best time in The Gambia. You could help the class by beginning one as a piece of shared writing. Children could illustrate the card too, with a scene from the place she visited.

Further development:
Find out more about Africa


Have a large world map/globe and use it to find The Gambia

Make a display of foods from Africa

Look at books such as A is for Africa by Ifeoma Onyefulu

Make information books about Africa

Role play area


Create an African market in the role play area that is like ‘stepping into a rainbow’. Use fabrics, and baskets for children to wear, together with other artefacts and fruit and vegetables to buy. Capitalise the opportunities for writing and reading that there could be eg labels, prices, shopping lists
Art and design

Make a collection of African fabrics

Discuss colours, patterns

Children paint, print, collage own designs

Use fabrics for printing




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