Morning Rituals

poem by Penny Galloway , illustrated by Amy Golbach

Learning intention

I am learning to read texts for specific purposes applying appropriate text processing strategies, such as monitoring meaning, skimming and scanning so that I can help develop better understanding of topics.

Success criteria

  • I can skim and scan a text to locate specific information.
  • I can create a map of the journey taken by a character.
  • I can create a map of a fictional location and plot a route for a character.
  • I can compose a poem based on a character’s journey through the location.
  • I can skim and scan a poem composed by my peers and plot a character’s journey.

Focus question

How do comprehension strategies help us develop better understanding of topics?


Prior to reading Morning Rituals inform students that good readers form pictures in their minds as they read. Read Morning Rituals. Discuss the subject matter, ensuring students note that it details the journey a dog takes around a garden each morning.

Tell students that they will be creating a map of the journey. Inform them that first they will need to identify where the dog begins their journey. Tell students that rather than re-reading the whole poem you will be using skimming and scanning to locate important information. Use the think aloud strategy to make your thinking explicit sharing that you will check the beginning of the poem to find out the location of the dog starts from. Refer back to the poem and ensure students identify that the dog begins at the back door. Sketch a rectangle on the board to be the outline of a map and mark the top left corner ‘back door’. Tell students that you will be adding the dog’s entire journey. Scan to find where the dog heads to next (past the parsley, rosemary and the warrigal greens). Mark these as three separate locations winding across the page and travelling downwards. Use dotted lines to show the dogs route from the back door and past these three plants.

Discuss what types of language students might scan for to discover where the dog goes next. Sample ideas include:

  • the specific names of plants and herbs
  • next
  • after
  • then

Place students with a partner and instruct them to scan the next stanza of the poem to identify where the dog heads next. Discuss student’s ideas ensuring they note that she passes basil, lemongrass, chives and chillies. Place two of each of these plants on either side of the dog’s route on the map to show her moving between them. Continue this process until her whole journey is plotted on the map. Re-read the poem to check the accuracy of the information on the map.

Inform students that they will be creating their own map to identify a fictional journey a character might take and to include their ideas in their own poem. Tell students that first you will be constructing an example as a whole class. Firstly, compose a list of locations that could be included in a map. For example:

  • a beach
  • a swimming pool
  • a train station
  • a school
  • plants such as wattle trees

Next, discuss students’ ideas of which elements to include. Create a map on the board that features students’ ideas. Then decide on a route through the location and plot this on the map using a dotted line. Discuss characters that might take this journey through the location, for example:

  • a cat
  • a lizard
  • a bird
  • children
  • grandparents

Collaboratively select a character from the list. As a class construct a poem outlining the character’s journey. Tell students that they should follow the specific route plotted on the map when composing the poem and that they should include sites the character passes along their journey. Inform students that it doesn’t matter whether the poem rhymes or not, and that the goal here is to follow the exact route on the map. For example,

The cat creeps slowly past the pool,

Careful not to take a dip,

He ducks beneath an arched bridge,

And amongst the shade of a wattle tree.

Tell students that they will be constructing their own poem based on a map they create. Place students with the same partner as previously and instruct them to discuss elements they wish to include in their map. Refer students to the list created earlier if they need assistance with ideas. Instruct students to construct a map featuring their chosen elements. Once they have created their map, tell students to use a dotted line to plot a route through the map. Inform students that they will need to decide on a character they wish to feature in their poem that will take the journey they have marked. Instruct students to compose a poem based on their character’s journey.

Allow time for students to compose their poems. Once complete, tell students to swap poems with another group. Students should read the poems composed by their peers and create a new map based on the journey in the poem. Tell students that they should use skimming and scanning to locate information in their peer’s poem to assist them with constructing this map. Tell students that they should then check the map they have created based on their peer’s poem against the original map that their peer created to see how clearly the ideas were expressed in the poem.