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Year 4 Narrative Unit 2 – Stories set in imaginary worlds

Stories set in imaginary worlds (4 weeks)

This is the second of four narrative units in Year 4. In this unit children will develop their use of different settings in narrative from Year 3 and build on the work from Unit 1 to organise texts into paragraphs. The unit has three phases which have oral and written outcomes including a quest or adventure narrative in the fantasy or science fiction genre. To support children's writing, photo-editing software is used to create fantasy landscapes. The images are used to plan stories and develop the use of language to create atmosphere. The unit can be linked to other curriculum subjects or themes.

Phase 1

Read, compare and contrast a range of texts with fantasy settings. Identify common features and themes from the narratives. Discuss how settings influence the reactions of characters. Express opinions about the mood and atmospheres created by different authors of narratives with fantasy settings.

Phase 2

Create fantasy settings using photo-editing software. Use images to discuss character responses to settings.
Construct a narrative using the images, and drawing on common features and themes of stories set in fantasy settings. Organise the story into paragraphs and identify how cohesion is created within and across paragraphs.

Phase 3

Demonstrate how to organise the narrative into paragraphs using cohesive devices to connect ideas. Children write their own narratives arranged into paragraphs, ensuring that ideas are linked within and across paragraphs.


  • Begin reading a serial story aloud (and continue through the unit), for example the first in a series of books set in the same imaginary world. Provide others in the series for children to read independently throughout the unit. Collect together information from the text about the setting to build up a picture of the imagined world. Note examples of descriptive language and talk about the type of mood or atmosphere they create. Children to present evidence in another form, for example as map or illustration.
  • Read a short story set in another imaginary world. Focus on particular characters and discuss what they do in that setting: is their behaviour what the children would expect or has it been affected by the setting in some way? Children express own opinions using evidence from text and listen to views of others.
  • Discuss the way that authors develop imaginary worlds over a series of books, for example revealing more detail, introducing new characters. Encourage examples based on children's independent reading.
  • Improvise what would happen if new characters were introduced to an imagined world. Use freeze-frame to explore thoughts of different characters.
  • Children work collaboratively to plan and write a longer story, organised into chapters, about an adventure in an imagined world. Discuss ways to use language to create atmosphere or suspense and demonstrate how to use figurative or expressive language in short passages.

1998 Framework objectives covered:

Year 4, Term 2: T1 how writers create imaginary worlds; T2 how settings influence events, incidents, characters' behaviour; T3 compare settings; T4 use of expressive, descriptive language; T8 review range of stories; T10 develop use of settings in own writing; T12 collaborate to write stories in chapters; T13 write own examples of expressive, descriptive language.