Picture books

Read the book Grandpa and Thomas by Pamela Allen (Penguin, 2003). Note especially the repeated use of "Swish, swash, swoosh, sings the sea" throughout the text.

Then ask your students to do some or all of these activities.

  • Identify the underlying rhythm pattern in the phrase by clapping it.
Notes on a music stave, indicating a rhythmic pattern matched to the words 'Swish, swash, swoosh, sings the sea'.

The rhythmic pattern of 'Swish, swash, swoosh, sings the sea'.

  • Create other phrases that follow the same pattern, with or without alliteration (e.g. wham, bang, crash, go the drums).
  • Make the same pattern with other classroom objects (e.g. counters, blocks, or use body percussion) and then describe them abstractly (e.g. AAABBA).
  • Create and describe other word patterns and identify the abstract pattern.
  • Examine the repeating structure of the sentences on most pages. For example,

Grandpa builds a castle,
Thomas pats it flat.

  • Ask students to make up similar pairs of sentences and use them to write their own story (or create a class story).

You can download a list of other titles of picture books offering patterning opportunities.

Curriculum links

Foundation Year: Sort and classify familiar objects and explain the basis for these classifications. Copy, continue and create patterns with objects and drawings

Year 1: Investigate and describe number patterns formed by skip counting and patterns with objects