14th December - Room for a Little One

For 12 days in December, Rising Stars is giving away a fantastic English lesson plan! Today we are using Martin Waddell's Room for a Little One for the plan - you can buy a copy for your class here

Our thanks to Maddy Barnes, Assistant Head Teacher at Sacred Heart Catholic School and English Consultant for the great lesson plan!

English Grid

Objective to be taught



Inverted commas

Y3: introduction to inverted commas to punctuate direct speech;

Y4: use of inverted commas and other punctuation to indicate direct speech e.g. a comma after the reporting clause; end punctuation within inverted commas (e.g. The conductor shouted, “Sit down!”) 

By the award-winning author of ‘Farmer Duck’ and ‘Can’t You Sleep Little Bear?’ It is a beautiful and lyrical retelling of the classical Christmas story accompanied by powerful illustrations. The main character in the story is Kind Ox and throughout the story, different characters come for shelter and the refrain “Come inside, Kind Ox said. “There’s always room for a little one here.”

Other characters in this book are: Old Dog; Stray Cat; Small Mouse; Tired Donkey; Mary & Joseph.

Teaching direct speech in a context:

At Y3, pupils should be introduced to direct speech. Teachers could present some speech bubbles for the pupils to complete for the different characters and then ask pupils to transfer the speech bubbles into direct speech using inverted commas.

At Y4, pupils should be able to demarcate direct speech accurately. Teachers could use this book as a dictation resource and read sections of text for pupils to write and punctuate accurately.

NC objectives

Y3 & Y4

plan their writing by:

  • discussing writing similar to that which they are planning to write in order to understand and learn from its structure, vocabulary and grammar
  • draft and write by:
  • composing and rehearsing sentences orally (including dialogue), progressively building a varied and rich vocabulary and an increasing range of sentence structures (See Appendix 2) 

This classical picture book is beautifully written in a limited number of words.  Martin Waddell is economical with his words, but the description is vivid and rich. Pupils could create their own version of this story, choosing their own animals as characters and using the author’s style of adjective + noun for character’s names – Kind Ox; Stray Cat etc…

When planning what they are going to write, year 3 and 4 pupils should discuss writing similar to that which they are planning to write so that they can learn from its structure, vocabulary and grammar. So teachers could present sentences from this text and really analyse the author’s choice of language. Which words appeal to you as the reader? How does the author create an image in our mind? How does the author bring the character alive? 

Examples of text to analyse with pupils:

He nestled close to Kind Ox, sharing the warmth of his stable.

Stray Cat arched her back and her fur bristled.

…purring and twitching her tail.

…quivered with fear.

She nestled down warm in the straw in the peace of the stable.

That cold winter’s night, beneath the star’s light…a Little One came for the world.

Pupils can use these examples as a frame for their own writing.



Assessment, Computing and ICT, CPD, English and Literacy, Geography, Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation, History, Intervention and SEN, Languages, Mathematics, More able, PE, Reading and Ebooks, Revision and Practice, Science and Technology

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