The Peregrine Falcon

poem by Stephen Whiteside , illustrated by Christopher Nielsen

Learning intentions:

I am learning to use text processing strategies so that I can enhance my understanding of texts.


Success criteria:

  • I can use self-questioning before, during and after reading a text.
  • I can cross-check and review texts to check my understanding.
  • I can monitor meaning when analysing imagery in texts.


Essential knowledge:               


Before reading The Peregrine Falcon, read the title aloud for the students and have them write questions they have about the text starting with “Who”, “What” and “I wonder”. Example questions may be “Who wrote the poem?”, “What does peregrine mean?” and “I wonder what’s so special about a peregrine falcon?”


Without showing students the poem, read it aloud to the class, stopping at the end of the line “Deep within the city’s heart.” Have students write three more questions they have about the text, for example “I wonder what country peregrine falcons live in?”


Finish reading the poem and have students write a final three questions that weren’t answered in the text, such as “I wonder what a peregrine falcon looks like?”. Go through previous questions and review the text to see if anyone’s questions were answered during the reading.


Sort students into small groups and have them re-read the poem to find the main idea for each of the three stanzas. Groups discuss their answers before sharing with the class. (Answer: stanza one – how peregrine falcons hunt for food, stanza two – how peregrine falcons nest, stanza three – how peregrine falcons live in cities.)


Understanding the main idea will assist with interpreting metaphors. Instruct students to find the two examples of imagery in the poem. If they need prompting, let them view the English Textual Concepts video Connotation, Imagery and Symbolism or the NSW Education Department’s pages on metaphors.


  • “the city’s heart”
  • “I do not need a tree with leaves”


Once the class have found these metaphors, ask individuals to write down what they think the metaphors mean. Encourage students to use the context of the metaphors (looking at the words around them) to guide their answers.


  • the city’s heart = within the centre of the city
  • I do not need a tree with leaves = comparing a building to a bare tree


Discuss answers as a class before asking students to imagine how a city might compare to a forest full of bare trees. Have students sketch an illustration of their interpretation of this imagery.