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A River by Marc Martin – KS1/2 cross-curricular activities

What's included?

PDF of cross-curricular activity ideas for KS1 and KS2

Key Stage

KS1, KS2


Years 1-6

Explore the landscapes in A River by Marc Martin – an inspirational picture book for observation, questioning, reflection and visualisation…

Start here

Before reading A River by Marc Martin, ask your children what they know about rivers and what experiences they can share. Is there a river near your school? Where does it come from and where does it go? How do you cross a river or travel along it?

Look at the front cover of A River by Marc Martin. What kind of place is this, do you think? Does it look like anywhere you recognise? Who could be in the boat and where could they be going? What other questions does this cover raise?

Share the story, making sure everyone can see the pictures – you may need to use a visualiser or have extra copies available. Read the whole book for enjoyment, questioning and reflecting on individual illustrations but keeping the momentum going, then revisit each spread to look more closely and interrogate the images.

How is the river in this book similar to the one(s) you talked about earlier? How is it different? Where can you see the sky in this book? Why do you think Martin didn’t show more sky?

In this book, do you think Martin wanted to teach you facts, tell you a story or do something else? If you had a little silver boat, where would you sail?

What is A River by Marc Martin about?

From her bedroom high above the city, a girl sits looking at a river. It stretches away in both directions and she imagines herself swept along it “in a silver boat towards the horizon”.

Subsequent spreads in A River by Marc Martin show her boat following the river through different locations, from car-jammed city flyovers and smoke-filled factories to patchwork fields and waterfalls.

Information mixes with dreamscape as the river takes her through jungles, past mangroves and out into the open sea.

Part exploration of the power of imagination and part introduction to habitats and the water cycle, A River by Marc Martin offers gloriously immersive, densely coloured artwork with a sophisticated edge.

Martin’s pared-back text leads us through each landscape, framing the reader’s observations but leaving plenty of room for thinking, questioning and responding.

Carey Fluker Hunt is a freelance writer, creative learning consultant and founder of Cast of Thousands, a teachers’ resource featuring a selection of the best children’s books and related cross-curricular activities.

A River by Marc Martin
A River by Marc Martin – KS1/2 cross-curricular activities
PrimaryArt & DesignDesign & Technology ...

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