Features of suspense writing KS2 – Show don’t tell with Pie Corbett

What's included?

Model text and teaching activities PDF

Key Stage



Years 3-6


When it comes to teaching features of suspense writing in KS2, it is very tempting to tell the reader what to think or feel (it was creepy/eerie/scary).

This is rather than letting the writing build the scene so that the reader imagines what is happening and feels a shiver up their spine.

It’s the difference between allowing the reader to experience the story for themselves, through the senses, or just reporting what happened.

Features of suspense writing KS2

This resource features a suspense warm-up game that tunes children into suspense writing, using ‘show not tell’. There is then a ‘talk into writing’ activity where pupils build a paragraph orally in pairs.

The model text included in this download, called Catamader, features two characters searching for and meeting a legendary sea creature. Use the underlying pattern of the story as the basis for your own different versions.

More resources

Pie Corbett Ultimate KS2 Fiction Collection

Read more about building suspense in writing in KS2 or download our Pie Corbett Ultimate KS2 Fiction Collection.

Pie Corbett is an English educational trainer, writer, author and poet who has written over 200 books. Teachers love him for the way that he promotes creative approaches in the classroom. He is an experienced teacher, headteacher and Ofsted inspector. Follow him on Twitter at @PieCorbett.

Features of suspense writing KS2 resource
Features of suspense writing KS2 – Show don’t tell with Pie Corbett

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