Windy Arbor

Primary School


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19.04.21 & 26.04.21

Focus Text: 'Handa's Surprise' by Eileen Browne



Skill: Prediction


Preparation – Wear something that will surprise the class (e.g. make a loud noise unexpectedly, wear something silly etc). Carry out the surprise and ask how the children felt. Are surprises always good? Do you like surprises?


  • Introduce focus book – look at title and key word ‘surprise’.
  • What does it mean to ‘predict’?
  • Let’s look at the front cover of the book. What do we think the story is going to be about? Explain why.
  • Look at the first page spread. What can you tell me about what you can see? What is the setting like? Which country do you think the book is based in? How do you know? Which words or objects can you see in the illustrations that provide clues for your answer. What do you think the surprise will be? Is the basket heavy? Is it easy to carry a basket on your head? Where might the girl be going? Is she looking at something behind her?
  • Record predictions in books (draw/write).
  • Share the story and then reflect on predictions offered.



Skill: Retrieval

  • Recap story.
  • What does it mean to ‘retrieve’?
  • Share the first illustration – what do you notice first in the picture? What does Eileen Browne want you to see first? How has Handa been illustrated to make sure that you notice her? What does this tell you about Handa? Where is the story set? What clues are there to help us work it out? Does the setting remind you of anything?
  • Explore the text and use questions to check literal understanding – e.g. What happens to the fruit that Handa takes to Akeyo? Does Handa know what happened to the fruit? How do the tangerines get into the basket? What is the surprise? Handa wants to surprise Akeyo but gets a surprise herself. Why is the book called Handa’s Surprise? Does Handa realise what is happening? How do you know? Does Akeyo like the surprise? Will Handa carry fruit to Akeyo again?
  • Record (differentiated questions) in books.



Skill: Vocabulary

  • Recap story.
  • What do we think about when we look at ‘vocabulary’?
  • When we read the story again, are there any words that we do not know the meaning of?
  • Let’s explore the words: juicy, ripe, tangy (adjectives that describe the fruit). Also explore the names of animals or fruit that children have not previously heard of.
  • Verbally share and define words.



Skill: Summarise

  • Recap story.
  • What does it mean to ‘summarise’? Model the process of conveying an event in one sentence.
  • Talk to your partner, in one sentence, can you tell us what happened in the story?
  • Record summary (one sentence) in books.



Reader’s Theatre

Using the ending, focus on the use of speech, expression and character voices/feelings.


“Hello, Akeyo,” said Handa. “I’ve brought you a surprise.”

“Tangerines!” said Akeyo. “My favourite fruit.”

“TANGERINES?” said Handa. “That is a surprise!”


Draw children’s attention to your expression and phrasing. Point out the capital letters, punctuation, italics (is) to help show the way the character would say the words.


Organise the class into 3 groups – Handa, Akeyo, narrator.

Re-read, practise and perform!