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The art of persuasion

Mike Bowen shows how you can use an adventure story to explore advertising and map-reading

Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism

By Georgia Byng

Macmillan Children's Books, pound;4.99


* Throughout the book, Molly is enthralled by television advertisements. Discuss with the class why it might be necessary to have adverts on the television. Ask them to recall any they know. How did they remember them? Discuss jingles, the use of bright colours and up-to-date pop tunes and slogans. List some of the key characteristics, then record a selection of adverts on video and use the class list as a tick sheet.

* Encourage the children to produce their own marketing campaign for a "never-seen-before" product and to script and film an advert that includes some of the elements you have discussed. This can be made into a video and shown to other children, who can decide whether or not it would make them want to buy the product.

* In chapter 9, Molly discovers her personal file and passport. Ask the children to discuss what information needs to be included on a passport, then produce their own passports.

* Choose an extract of 30-35 words from the book (at least one word for every child). List the words and give each child a copy. Write each word on a Post-it note and stick one on the back of every child. Make sure that children with special needs have easier words that they can read. Every child then has to work out which of the words on the list is the one on their back. They do this by asking other children yesno questions with a literacy basis, eg Do I have two syllables? Am I a proper noun? Do I have a silent letter? Am I a nounverbadjective? At the end of the exercise, draw them together and go through the list to see if everyone was able to work out "their" word.

* Once the children have read or heard the book, ask them to write a chapter about life at Hardwick House while Molly and Rocky were in New York and to imagine what life was like with Hazel in charge.


* In chapter 30, Molly travels all over New York. Discuss what the children know about New York. Provide them with a map of Manhattan. Explain the city's grid system with its numbered streets and avenues. Encourage them to locate some of the areas Molly visits in the book.

* Starting from a specific point on the map, ask children to give oral instructions to reach one of the places mentioned in the book. Lower key stage 2 children can use the terms right, left and straight on, whereas upper KS2 can use vocabulary relating to north, south, east and west. Use this idea to create a competition. Who can reach Madison Square Gardens from Times Square in the least number of moves? Children can plot their movements on graph paper or using ICT, eg a turtle.

* Introduce maps and the idea of scale. Ask children to work out various distances from place to place. How many miles from Strawberry Fields to Central Park Zoo?


* Arrange a behind-the-scenes visit to a theatre followed by a performance. Listen to some music from Broadway shows. Discuss how the music can make you feel happy, sad, scared or excited. Sort the songs into categories.

* Design a poster for "Stars on Mars" starring Molly Moon and Petula the dog.

Mike Bowen is special needs co-ordinator at Manselton primary school, Swansea

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