Once upon a time learning activities

Celebrate the Scholastic Dromkeen Children’s Literature Collection in your classroom. Download the reading list below, featuring some of the children’s literature highlights from the Once upon a time exhibition. (Please note that the Once upon a time exhibition closes on 12 October 2014.) Use these suggestions and other classroom favourites to explore the following literacy activities.


  • Read aloud a story from the Once upon a time suggested reading list.
  • Ask students to retell the main events of the story in sequence, using the retell worksheet at the bottom of this page.


  • Read aloud a storybook without revealing the pictures.
  • Select a favourite part of the story.
  • Have students elaborate on this scene by creating a detailed comic strip, using the visualising worksheet below.


  • Introduce an unfamiliar shared reading text to your students. Begin reading together.
  • Pause the story at a climatic point and mark this page.
  • Have students predict what will happen on the following page of the story using the prediction worksheet below. Students share their predictions and justify their thinking.
  • Read aloud the story from the beginning and compare the narrative with the students’ ideas.

Making connections: text-to-self

  • Ask students to identify some of their favourite storybook characters and list these on the board.
  • Select a character to describe in detail. Consider personality, experiences, interests, skills, features, likes and dislikes.
  • Using the making connections worksheet below, ask students to compare and contrast a favourite storybook character with their own lives and characteristics.


  • Seeking inspiration from children’s literature, invite students to create a puppet theatre for their favourite book using recycled materials.
  • Characters can be constructed using paper and popsicle sticks, and shoe boxes can be used to make the set.
  • Encourage students to rehearse and retell this favourite story to their friends.
  • Film performances and hold a premiere in your classroom. Don’t forget the popcorn!

Author study

  • Over the course of several literacy sessions, read aloud a selection of books by the same author.
  • Together with your students, record on Post-it notes the elements used by the author, such as themes, characters, style, genre and settings.
  • Conclude the author study by listing connections between the different books.
  • Encourage students to craft their own story, using the writing elements identified.

Master class

  • Watch videos from some of Australia’s favourite children’s illustrators and authors.
  • Explore their books and encourage students to have a go at creating their own artwork using some of the techniques the artists have described.

Literature awards

  • Celebrate children’s literature by hosting a picture book awards in your classroom.
  • Establish criteria for nominations and categories with your students.
  • Create medals for first, second and third place in each category.
  • Have students nominate their favourite books and justify their selection using the judging criteria. Invite other classes to be part of the awards ceremony and, if possible, contact the authors and artists to congratulate them on their awards.