Just Imagine

Upper KS2

Lake of Long Ago.. (history fact & fiction)

Welcome to Lake of Long Ago…, one of 20 exciting themes featured in The Reading Journey App.

  • Each pack consists of 10 carefully selected titles, designed to support independent reading and to encourage reading for pleasure and wider reading.

    Packs are curated to include a selection of accessible, challenging books, with the core matching the expected range.

    Please note that our themed packs are a selection of books from the core Reading Journey packs.

    The Reading Journey app was launched in October 2019 and is free for UK schools.

    The app is currently available for both Lower & Upper Key Stage 2.

    All schools signing up to the Reading Journey app will receive a monthly newsletter, dedicated to sharing new ideas for getting the most out of the app and supporting continued reading for pleasure. Of course, you can unsubscribe from this newsletter at any time.


Book introductions

The way new books are introduced into the class book corner or library can make a huge difference to children’s interest and engagement.  For each of our themes, we have asked class teachers to introduce the books and then make some suggestions for ways of presenting them to the class.

To spark children’s curiosity in this collection you could draw on the differences between the different time periods.

  • One way might be to have a ‘Special Delivery’ from a museum which contains artefacts linked to each of the texts.
    • wrap artefacts in brown paper and string and pack them into an old wooden box. This box could be delivered to the class from the school office. This will pique the children’s interest before you introduce the books.
    • Give the children the blurbs from each book to read in groups.
    • Unwrap each item and predict which artefact matches which text and why.
    • Encourage children share with a partner or in groups which text they might like to read. You may need to have waiting lists for popular books!
  • An alternative introduction would be to dig up a time capsule with artefacts inside.
  • Letters could be delivered from the main characters or sharing gruesome facts from each era.

Book talk

When children are reading different books it can still be beneficial to have book conversations which make connections across a range of reading material. Here are some suggestions for talk about books that link by focussing in one way or another on the past.

Here are some potential prompts for class or group discussion around the theme:

  • Would you rather be a child now or in the time period your book is set? Why?
  • What sorts of problems do the characters encounter in the books that you have been reading?
    • Would the character have had that problem if they were living today?
    • Or is the problem specific to the time and place that the story is set?
    • If it is a problem that might be encountered today do you think it would be approached in a different way?
  • Have you learnt anything new about a period of time from a book that you have been reading?
    • What is the most interesting thing that you have learnt?
  • Do you think this event/period of time that you have been reading about has had any impact on us today? In what way?
  • Do you notice any language that is different to how we speak now?
    • Why do you think language has changed?
  • If the characters in your book time travelled to the present, what do you think they would think or say about our world?
    • What would you most want to ask them?
  • What are the differences between the time period your book is set in and now?
    • What are the similarities?
    • Do you think things are better or worse now? In what ways?
  • How do we know that this time period/event happened?
    • Are there any clues that tell us that the writer researched the period they were writing about?
    • What sources of information might they have used?
  • Do you think it is important to know things about the past?
    • Why? Why not?
  • What lessons can we learn from that historical event/period of time?
    • Do you think people learn from history, or do they just keep making the same mistakes?
  • How would you feel if you time travelled back to that time?
    • What would you most want to experience by travelling back to that time period
  • Find other books to fit this theme in the library, school library, or perhaps from home
    • compare a fiction and a nonfiction book about the same period.
    • which do you prefer?
    • do you learn different things from fiction and nonfiction?


Rebecca Thomson is a teacher in a primary school in West Somerset. She has been involved in the development of the OU  Research Rich Pedagogies: Reading for Pleasure website and recently completed an MA in Education.