7th December - The Power of Sloth

Advent calendar

For 12 days in December, Rising Stars are bringing you a fantastic English lesson plan idea to use with your pupils. Today's is based on Lucy Cooke's The Power of Sloth. You can buy the book for your class here.

 Thanks to Maddy Barnes, Assistant Head Teacher at Sacred Heart Catholic School and English Consultant for the great plan. 


English Grid

Objective to be taught



KS2 Reading Content Domain:

2b) retrieve and record information/identify key details from fiction and non-fiction

Retrieval questions can be presented to pupils in a number of ways:

  • Find and copy

  • ……. Give 2

  • Completing tables

  • Multiple choice, tick one, tick two

Sloths’ natural home is the jungles of South and central America where they spend their whole lives hanging about in trees. Literally. Their long arms and curved claws help them hook on and hang around without spending much energy, allowing for the optimum laziness. Sixty million years of evolution have made sloths the absolute masters of mellow.

a) Sloths’ bodies are adapted to help them hang in trees. Give two ways.
b) Find and copy 2 jungles that are sloths’ natural homes.

KS2 pupils need to be able to retrieve information from non-fiction texts and answer a range of questions. They also need to justify their answer with evidence from the text.

KS2 Reading Content Domain:

2d) make inferences from the text/explain and justify inferences with evidence from the text.


The sample materials for the KS2 reading test indicate that there is a greater range of question type. Pupils are required to: write long and short answers; match up questions; choose from a set of multiple choice questions and understand tables. This book is ideal for a guided reading text and could be used with years 3 and 4 pupils. Photographs of sloths accompany each page from the Sloth Appreciation Society. Sometimes pupils use their own knowledge of animals to answer questions in a non-fiction text. However, most pupils will be unfamiliar with the lifestyle of a sloth (until they read this book!) so they will really need to use the text to answer the questions.

Some questions in the sample paper require pupils to use the text in their answers. Pupils will need opportunities to practice selecting a quotation from the text to support their answers. Teachers could teach pupils to use PEE as a strategy for answering questions. This encourages pupils to:

P: make a Point

E : choose some Evidence for example a quotation/ section of text to support their point

E: Explain/Extend their point of view

Example of how to use PEE:

If hugging were an Olympic sport, then Ubu would be a gold medallist, but he wasn’t always so strong. As a baby, Ubu lost his grip on his mother and fell. When he hit the ground he hurt his spine and now his back legs don’t work. But plenty of physical therapy has given this paraplegic baby sloth the upper body strength of a champion wrestler. He’ll never let go of another sloth again.

a) Is Ubu a determined sloth? Yes/No Refer to the text in your answer.

P: I think Ubu is a determined sloth.

E: I know this because it says in the text ‘plenty of physical therapy has given him the upper body strength of a champion wrestler.

E: He is not just as strong as a wrestler, but a champion wrestler! He was obviously very determined to succeed despite his injuries when he was a younger sloth.


Maddy Barnes, Assistant Head Teacher at Sacred Heart Catholic School and English Consultant



Added to your basket: