Rainy days;Project Literary Hour

27th March 1998 at 00:00
This year, English primary schools are being asked to introduce a daily literacy hour. Around 15 minutes will be devoted to the shared reading of a set text, and 15 minutes to word andor sentence-level work. The remaining time will mostly be devoted to group reading and a plenary session covering the lesson's main teaching points.

Here are two texts to share with a class on a rainy day, 'Rainy day words' for younger pupils and 'Rainy day wisdom' for older children.

There are also two pages of follow-up activities, to keep the rest of your pupils productively engaged while you work with a group.

Sue Palmer



Mean tiny wee dropsNothing to stop youFrom going to the shops.


Mean damp in the airMaking clothes clammyAnd frizzing your hair. 3. PELTING AND POURING

Mean raindrops that lashGush down and rush downAnd splish down and splash!


Mean water in sheetsFlooding the gutters andStreaming the streets.


Mean terrible rain...Best stay indoorsTill it's sunny again!

* Talking about the text


The poem is written to a pattern. What is it?

Have you seen all the sorts of rain it describes?

Which sort is it today?

Which do you like best, and why?


Every verse is one sentence. How can you tell?

Why does each line begin with a capital letter?

Which punctuation mark shows a sharp break in the middle of a sentence?


* In each verse there is a pair of words in bold print.

Find the ones that - rhyme; start with the same letter; are the same except for one letter; are made up of two words joined together.

* Which words sound like rain falling? Why?

Think of or make up some more rainy-sounding words. Work out how you could spell them.

* Find the rhyming words in each verse. Think of more rhyming words with the same spelling pattern.


Write a story about a rainy day you recall.

Draw eight raindrops and write a rainy-sounding word in each one.

Read the four rainy day rhymes on this page.

Learn some of them.

Rain and day both have an 'ay' sound, but different spellings. Make a list of words that rhyme with each, such as rainday, Spainplay, brainsay.


It never rains but it pours - English

Into each life some rain must fall - American

Save your money for a rainy day - English

Heavy rain doesn't last long - Italian

Roof can fool sun, but roof can't fool rain - Caribbean

The rain wets the leopard but it doesn't wash out its spots - African

The rain drenches everyone - African

To the ant, a few drops of rain are a flood - Japanese

* Talking about the text


Look up the meanings of these words in a dictionary: proverb, literal, figurative (or figure of speech).

What is the hidden (figurative) meaning of each proverb?


Each proverb is a sentence - how can you tell?

Which is phrased as a command?

Which is written in non-standard English? (What would be the standard version?) Which two proverbs are made of two parts (clauses) joined with a conjunction?


The word rain can be used as a noun or a verb. Which is it in each of the proverbs? What ending can change rain into an adjective?

The words in italics show where the proverbs come from. Find the endings -ish, -an, -ese. How many other nationalities can you think of with these endings?

* Rainy day wisdom - follow-up activites

Write a story (or draw a picture) to illustrate the figurative meaning of one of the rainy day proverbs on the previous pages. When you read (or tell) your story to the class, see if they can guess the proverb.

We turn the word rain into an adjective by adding y. List at least seven other "weather words" that can be changed in the same way, such as sun - sunny.

Make a collection of proverbs.

Make sure you understand their literal and figurative meanings.

Read the poem 'The rainy day'. With a partner, practise a presentation of the poem to show to the class.


* The rain is raining all around,

It falls on field and tree,

It rains on the umbrellas here

And on the ships at sea.

Robert Louis Stevenson

* Rain, rain, go to Spain -

Sunny weather come again!

* Rain, rain, go away -

Come again another day!

* Rain on the green grass,

Rain on the tree,

Rain on the roof tops,

But not on me!


The day is cold and dark and dreary;

It rains and the wind is never weary;

The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,

But at every gust the dead leaves fall,

And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold and dark and dreary;

It rains and the wind is never weary;

My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past,

But the hopes of youth fall thick and fast,

And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;

Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;

Thy fate is the common fate of all,

Into each life some rain must fall,

Some days must be dark and dreary.

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-82)


Teaching notes for a rainy day 0-15 mins

* Younger pupils: Read poem expressively and briskly, providing a model of fluent reading. Point under words as you read (use a pointer that doesn't obscure text). Talk about the poem, then read again. Ask children to readjoin in.

* Older pupils: Ask children to read proverbs aloud (the text may be short, but there is plenty to talk about). For more text, try the Longfellow poem on page 32 or 'Roof Can Fool Sun, But Roof Can't Fool Rain', from Say It Again, Granny! by John Agard (Bodley Head, being reprinted this year).

15-30 mins

* Use the sentence and word level suggestions to focus on how text is created: how the sounds of language are written down; the meaning of words (and their shades of meaning); the specific jobs words do in a sentence (and the rules governing their behaviour); how we group words together to convey our meaning; how punctuation shows where the reader should pause or use a particular tone of voice.

30-50 mins

* Younger pupils: you take two reading groups (you could use the poem again for children to read); remaining groups do suitable tasks from page 33.

* Older pupils: you take one reading group while other pupils try suitable tasks from page 32.

50-60 mins

Class comes together to: report on activities; revise key points of the lesson.

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