Archbishop Courtenay Primary School

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Archbishop Courtenay Primary School

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Goodnight Mister Tom

Lesson 1

Read the extract below from 'Goodnight Mr Tom' by Michelle Magorian. You might like to listen to Miss Flisher reading the whole chapter.




  1. What is happening in this extract? Who are the central characters? Can you summarise what you’ve read in a couple of sentences? 
  2. Talk about how this story opening makes you feel and what you like or dislike about it. Does it remind you of anything you know in stories or real life? How? 
  3. Think about how it is written. What parts of this really stick in your mind? Which words and phrases do you like the best? What do you like about them? Do they look or sound interesting? Do they help you make a picture in your mind? What do other people think? 
  4. Are there any words you are unsure of the meaning of? Look these up in a dictionary or use an online version, e.g., If you are able to, you might ask someone else if they know the meaning. 
  5. When do you think the book may be set? What clues tell you that?
  6. What do you know about ‘evacuation’?
  7. What questions does the opening of the book raise for you? 
  8. Do you want to read on? Why? (Remember, you can listen to Miss Flisher reading the whole book if you like what you have heard and read thus far)


Read the text again and think about the different characters in the opening of the novel.

Character study. 



a)Draw a picture of Mr Tom Oakley and write around him everything you know thus far: remember to use evidence from the text to help you draw your picture and to describe him




b) Draw a picture of William from Mr Tom's perspective. What would you need to include in the drawing? What do you think Tom’s first impression of William is? Why? How might you show this in your drawing? What might his body language be like? Do you think he would look confident or shy and nervous? What kind of expression might you draw on his face? Why?

Lesson 2

Look at the front cover of the book and answer the questions.

Read the extract given in Lesson 1: now look at the front cover and title of the book.

  1. Is this what you expected? Why? Why not?
  2. What details do you notice on the front cover that reinforce the impression given to you in the opening of the story?
  3. Are there any aspects of the illustration that surprise you?
  4. Looking at the front cover, what do you notice about William and Mr Tom? What do you notice about the

       body language in the picture? Based on the illustration, how might their relationship develop from the  

       initial meeting you read about in the introduction to the book?

  5. Why do you think the book is called 'Goodnight Mr Tom'? 




Imagine you are going away somewhere and you can only bring one suitcase of items with you, containing five objects or items that are special to you; what would you pack?

Draw or write a list of these items, justifying why they should be allowed to go with you and why they are so special to you. You might like to share this list with someone else (or email it to Mrs Evans) and ask them what they would bring with them and why. Have you chosen similar items or different items?


You can listen to Miss Flisher reading the book here

If you've enjoyed the book so far, why don't you buy your own copy or wait until the library is open and borrow a copy.