Asha and Nani Search for Words

story by Seetha Dodd , illustrated by Sarah Davis

Learning Intention:


I am learning to make inferences about ideas in text so that I can better understand the texts I read.


Success Criteria:

  • I can identify how illustrations support ideas in a text.
  • I can infer characters’ emotions based on their actions.
  • I can consider the emotional journeys of characters.
  • I can use language and text features to make inferences about ideas in a story.


First Reading:

Note: This story features sensitive ideas and themes that some students may find upsetting.


  • Prior to reading the story, view the first illustration. What can you see in the illustration? What does it make you think the story will be about? (For example, in the first illustration I see a child and a grandparent sitting together, working on a word-search so I think the story will be about their relationship)
  • How does the grandparent's appearance differ between the first illustrations, and the remaining two illustrations? (In the second illustration the grandmother looks worried, in the third it looks as though the child is comforting the grandmother.)
  • What might the genre of this text be? (Realistic fiction)
  • How does Nani change throughout the story? (She becomes more forgetful, perhaps through illness or old age)
  • Why do you think Nani pretends not to be able to find the words sometimes? (To allow Asha the chance to locate the words herself)
  • Read the story. What is special about Asha and Nani’s relationship? (They are close, they share an interest in similar activites

Second reading:

  • What emotions does the story evoke in readers? (Empathy, sorry for Nani)
  • How does it do this? (It shows Asha’s sorrow and fears for Nani and Nani’s confusion)
  • Why does Asha hug Nani when Nani finds she cannot read the words? (To comfort her, because she is worried for her)
  • Stories often include emotional journeys of the characters. How does Asha change? How does Nani? (Asha becomes less fearful about the changes happening to Nani and she recognises that they’ll always be connected. Nani loses her memory and doesn’t recognise Asha, but she still trusts her)

Third reading:

  • The author has uses dashes between the letters in the word Asha and Nani search for. For example, C-A-T-A-S-T-R-O-P-H-E. Why do you think they have used them? (To show the letters are separate from each other in the word searc
  • What words are featured in the word-searches in the story? (Catastrophe, tasty, love, family, trust, change)
  • What clues might these provide about the ideas in the story? (The words in the word-searches match the key ideas in the story, such as love and family and trust. When Nani begins to change, the word ‘change’ that appears in the puzzle matches this)
  • What might be the theme of the story? (Hint: Look at the speech bubble at the bottom of the page)
  • Why do you think Asha didn’t cry the second time Nani forgot who she is? (After speaking with mum, she realises Nani will always be her, even if she doesn’t remember Asha)
  • What can you infer about Nani and Asha’s relationship? (They are very close)
  • We can use exclamation marks (!) for a variety of reasons, for example, to show something is exciting, scary, loud or shocking. Identify the exclamation marks in the story and consider why they have been used. (As follows:


But Nani is even better!  To express shock

‘Oh! I didn’t see it!’ To express surprise

‘Nani, right there!’ To express excitement/shock

‘Well, maybe we can do something about that!’ says Ma. To show strength, conviction

‘Nani! You can see the words again!’ To express excitement/joy

‘I’ll help you, Nani!’ To show strength, conviction


  • Why have all the examples of exclamation been used in dialogue? (To express the characters’ emotions)