Ghosts in Grey Satin

story by Jenny Blackford , illustrated by Sylvia Morris

Learning intentions:

I am learning to understand the specific purpose of different character roles so I can be deliberate in creating characters that align with my story objectives and settings.


Success criteria:

  • I can identify the purpose of a character within the plot of a story.
  • I can assess the purpose of a character and their effectiveness.
  • I can create a collection of characters that fit a story, setting and purpose for an intended audience.


Essential knowledge:

For more information on creating effective fictional characters, watch the English Textual Concepts video Character.


Expose the students to a real aloud of the text or alternatively use the audio recording on the digital subscription. Prior to the reading, ask students to listen for descriptions of the ghosts and the monster and make notes about them. By the end of the reading, students’ notes should include:


  • Grey satin dresses like thick, silky cobweb
  • Triplets
  • Half-translucent



  • Rabbit
  • Spiky black fur
  • Glowing green eyes
  • Long white fangs
  • Nervous

Ask students to sketch these characters based on the notes they have written. Pose the following questions to the class:

  • What do you feel the purpose of these characters are? (To frighten people)
  • Based on your notes and illustrations, how effective do you feel these characters are?
  • Do they suit the intended audience? (Year 6 students)
  • Do they fit well in the setting? (Family home, school)

Reread the following passage from the text:

‘The Firm?’

‘They’ve been around forever. They organise all the hauntings. Ghosts, monsters, whatever you want. Big ones, small ones, whatever.’

Ask students for suggestions of what other types of creatures may be hired by The Firm to conduct hauntings and write some of their suggestions on the board for reference. They should consider the different types of people that may order hauntings, what their purpose may be, and the different kinds of places haunters may be sent.

Explain that they will be creating a collection of six characters that they believe The Firm should hire for hauntings. This may be conducted in their books, on blank paper or on a device using appropriate software. Their collection should include:

  • A picture of each of the characters with their name.
  • What type of creature they are.
  • A brief description of their appearance and personality.
  • A sentence explaining their haunting style (e.g., hiding under beds, rattling chains, floating around the house).
  • The setting that would suit them best (e.g., a Victorian mansion, a castle, a suburban home, a school).

Students should then display their work and conduct a gallery walk to allow for constructive peer feedback on their characters.


Close Reading Lesson: