Noughts and crosses

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Teacher’s Pack


Frances Gregory

Introduction 3

Overview for Scheme of Work 4

Navigator 5–6

Lesson Plans, WS 7–45

Assessment 46


We are grateful for permission to include the following copyright material in these resources

Malorie Blackman: extract of interview quoted on Laura Atkins website, used by permission of Malorie Blackman.
We have tried to trace and contact all copyright holders before publication. If notified, the publishers will be pleased to rectify any errors or omissions at the earliest opportunity.

Steve Evans Design and Illustration


English teachers don’t need to be told the enormous value and pleasure of reading whole texts as class readers. Little compares with that feeling when a class are truly engaged in the reading of a really good book. Those moments stay with you forever – indeed, they fuel the desire to find another such book to repeat the experience, again and again. Fortunately, contemporary writers of fiction for young adults continue to offer us fresh opportunities to enjoy literature with our students.
Oxford Rollercoasters is a series that offers teachers the opportunity of studying first-class novels – recently written for teenagers – as whole-class readers with Year 7, 8 and 9 students.
Focus on assessment of reading

Oxford Rollercoasters includes titles with varied themes, challenging subject matter and engaging plots – for example, Noughts and Crosses takes a very contemporary slant on racism, Firestarter features a modern-day compulsive arsonist, while Fire, Bed and Bone is set during the Peasants’ Revolt. Each novel is accompanied by innovative and engaging teaching materials, specifically designed to help students access the texts and to support learning as required by the National Curriculum.
Rollercoasters is firmly based on the reading objectives in the Framework, and draws on approaches to reading fiction recommended by the English strand of the Secondary National Strategy. The series is written by practising teachers and consultants, and, while concentrating on the explicit teaching of reading skills, also draws on approaches to literature through drama and media. Theories behind both assessment for learning and thinking skills are also embedded in the materials.
Time-saving resources

For each Rollercoasters novel there is a set of Lesson Plans, specifying particular objectives, assessment focuses and learning outcomes. These are accompanied by a compact Overview (see page 4) which summarizes the scheme at a glance, including the necessary resources for each lesson.

The Navigator offers a clear plot summary, linked to relevant chapters, to help speedy location of particular parts of the novel.
Lesson Plans are accompanied by full, varied and practical Worksheets and OHTs, and drama activities are common within the teaching schemes. The worksheets and OHTs are customizable to meet the needs of a particular teacher and class.
For every novel there are suggested guided reading sessions as well as the opportunity to develop further specific group teaching. Class, shared and independent reading are also fully supported in the Lesson Plans.
The practice of keeping some form of Reading Journal during the study of the novel is encouraged in many of the schemes, and there are several attractive models for such record-keeping across the teaching materials.
Every set of Lesson Plans ends with its own student Reading Assessment Progress Sheet, which the teacher can then use to identify areas for development for each student.
Reading Guide

Each of the novels has its own student Reading Guide, which contains a rich variety of material to help to engage students in their study of the novel. Each one features unique author’s craft material, giving students a great insight into the writing, editing and publishing process.

Ideas for wider reading and for the extension of independent reading are also provided in the Pathways section at the end of the Reading Guide.
Website support

The Rollercoasters website provides access to the free on-line teacher’s resources, sample chapters of the novels and further author information.

Oxford Rollercoasters provides first-class teaching resources for first-class contemporary fiction. The series is designed to engage the widest possible range of students in reading for pleasure, and we feel confident that it will contribute to those memorable experiences of reading together in the secondary classroom.
Frances Gregory

Series editor



(Book chapter)

Learning outcome

Students will be able to:

Reading AFs

Framework objectives

Rollercoasters resources

1 Establishing contexts


  • Use contextual clues to anticipate the content, theme and viewpoint of a novel

  • Use textual clues to infer character and relationships

AF3: Inference and deduction

AF6: Writer’s purposes

AF7: Social and historical context

Y9: R6, R11

WS: 1a, 1b

RG: p. 4

2 Viewpoint

Pages 19–59


  • Identify and evaluate narrative viewpoint

  • Determine the key points about social relations in the world of this novel

AF2: Locating evidence

AF4: Structure

Y9: R1, R6

WS: 2a

RG: p. 5

3 Language and theme

Pages 59–120


  • Identify discrimination implicit in language

  • Identify some of the novel’s major themes

AF3: Inference and deduction

AF5: Use of language

Y9: R12, R16, SpL12

WS: 3a, 3b

RG: pp. 6–8

4 Theme and reader


Pages 121–149


  • Identify how far and in what ways a writer draws on history to inform fictional events

  • Begin to develop judgements on writers’ and readers’ sympathies

AF2: Locating evidence

AF6: Writer’s purposes

AF7: Social and historical context

Y9: R1, R2, R6

WS: 4a

RG: pp. 9, 11

5 Structure

Pages 149–182


  • Trace how a writer uses characters to structure a plot

  • Identify the turning points in the developing plot and patterns in words to link to the concept of tragedy

AF4: Structure

AF5: Use of language

Y9: R12

WS: 5a, 5b

6 Narrative tension

Pages 185–233


  • Identify how a writer builds narrative tension

  • Evaluate how far a writer’s viewpoint is evident in a fictional text

AF4: Structure

AF6: Writer’s purposes

Y9: R4, R12

WS: 6a

RG: p. 10

7 Genre and plot

Pages 233–257


AF6: Writer’s purposes

Y9: R12

WS: 7a

8 Reader response

Pages 261–286


  • Identify the dramatic potential of a court scene in fiction

  • Exploit dramatic potential of language for media reporting

AF5: Use of language

AF6: Writer’s purposes

Y9: R9, R14, Wr11

WS: 7a, 8a, 8b

9 Writer’s craft

Pages 289–304


  • Explore how a writer’s choices (viewpoint, structure, language) affect a reader’s response

AF6: Writer’s purposes

Y9: R12, SpL12

WS: 9a, 9b

10 Comparison

Pages 305–331


  • Recognize the nature of tragedy

AF4: Structure

AF5: Use of language

AF7: Social and historical context

Y9: R7, R12

WS: 7a, 10a, 10b

RG: pp. 12–13

11 Writer’s craft

Pages 335–359


  • Select key character developments

  • Analyse how a writer’s use of language, structure and viewpoint affect a reader’s response

AF2: Locating evidence

AF5: Use of language

AF6: Writer’s purposes

Y9: R12, Wr17

WS: 10b, 11a, 11b

12 Reader response

Pages 359–408


  • Begin to recognize how a writer prompts a reader to anticipate the ending of a novel

AF4: Structure

AF6: Writer’s purposes

Y9: R12

WS: 12a

13 Reader response

Pages 409–432


  • Confirm how a writer prepares a reader for a novel’s conclusion

AF4: Structure

AF6: Writer’s purposes

Y9: R9, R18

WS: 13a

RG: pp. 12–13

14 Whole text

Pages 435–445


  • Develop their responses to and judgements about a text through exploratory talk

AF4: Structure

AF6: Writer’s purposes

Y9: R18, SpL9

OHT: 14a

RG: pp. 14–15

15 Evaluating the text

  • Judge how appropriate Noughts and Crosses has been for class reading

  • Use informative and persuasive language to promote a novel or give reasons for not promoting it

AF4: Structure

AF6: Writer’s purposes

Y9: R18, Wr13

WS: 15a, 15b, 15c, 15d

RG: pp. 15–16
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