Shining a spotlight

Thursday 15 November 2018

Our current class novel is Stig of the Dump by Clive King, a so far endearing novel about the friendship between a young boy, Barney, and his new and mysterious friend, Stig.

King’s complex writing style has already led to a range of discussion points that have improved our understanding of what we’ve read, both as a reader and a writer, considering meaning, themes and the author’s choices.

Here is a short extract that we decided to shine a spotlight on due to the volume of rich content.


Here we discussed the use of an adverb to create a picture inside the reader’s head of exactly how Barney sat up. What was also interesting was that putting the adverb at the end of the sentence made the action feel even more sudden than if it were to be earlier in the sentence.


After initially speculating that starting a sentence in this way could have been a mistake, we came to the agreement that an established author would have instead ‘broken the rules’ to provide a particular impact. In this case, we talked about a major reason was to show Barney thinking about Stig was more of an afterthought.


We talked about this word standing out on the page and what impact this may have on the reader. Using italics or bold is often a method used to encourage the reader to place a greater emphasis on that word as they are reading. When we read this section together, we came to the conclusion that reading this word in a different way made us think about how surprising it was that Barney had not even thought about his new friend.


Shining a spotlight on a sentence or short paragraph is a great way to spark discussion around reading at home. When doing this, it is good identify three things worthy of exploring a little deeper.