Lesson video

In progress...


My name is MS. Johnson.

And I'm going to be teaching you reading today.

In today's lesson, we're going to be reading the opening chapter of "I Was A Rat" by Phillip Pullman.

And then we will be developing our own initial responses to this.

So when you're ready, let's get started.

Let's start today's lesson by introducing the author and the book that we're going to be looking at.

Then we're going to look at some pre-vocabulary, This is pre-vocabulary before we read.

So words that you need to know before we do our reading.

Then we're going to spend most of the lesson reading the text.

And then at the end, we'll do some summarising as well.

In which will bring together everything we learned about the text today.

So in the testing day, you're going to need an exercise book or paper, a pencil and your brain.

I want you thinking throughout this lesson today.

So when you're ready, let's get started.

We're going to start by introducing the author.

The author of the book that we will be reading is Phillip Pullman.

Now he's written, and you might have read stories of his such as "The Firework Maker's daughter".

You might have heard his story, "His Dark Materials", which is a trilogy that he's written.

He's written lots and lots of children's books.

And he's actually one of my favourite authors.

When I was age 10, I read "His Dark Materials" and I absolutely loved it.

It was probably the book that got me started on reading.

So Phillip Pullman, has always been a favourite author of mine, and I'm really excited to share the opening chapter of this story with you today.

And I hope it encourages you to pick up one of his books.

The book that we will be reading is "I Was A Rat!" Now if you've read this book, that's fantastic.

You're going to be able to really answer lots of questions on it.

But it's still really good for you to listen to me reading the book today.

If you have never read this book, then it's even more exciting 'cause you get to hear it for the first time.

So we're going to start today by looking at this front cover.

And I'm wondering what clues it might give us about the story.

So whenever I'm choosing a book in a bookshop, I always look at the front cover to try and give me clues about what the story might be about.

So what I'd like you to do , is I'd like you to pause the video now, and you can just say out loud what you think this story might be about.

Off you go.

Well done.

Can you shout out what you think? Yeah.

I can also see in this picture, there is a boy and he is dressed in a uniform, but I'm not too sure what that uniform is, I have seen it before, but I'm not sure where, but he is dressed in a uniform.

There's also, it looks like he's in some water, but it looks like he's endured somewhere.

So perhaps maybe it reminds me a little bit of a sewer.

And then behind him is a rat.

Now the rat looks quite an evil rat Kind of got it's claws ready, And I can see that it's kind of behind him as if he's not aware is there.

So I can see a rat.

But what's weird is there's a light shining on him on the boy and behind him is a shadow of the rat.

So I'm a little bit confused whether this rat is the boy's shadow or not.


I wonder what the story might be about.

Shall we find out? So before we do any reading, we're going to look at some words that might come up.

So these are words that you just need to know.

Okay? So there was specific to this text and you just need to know them.

So I'm just going to tell you what those words are.

So that when we do our reading, we come across them, they don't make us feel like we can't read the book.


They don't make us get stuck.

So those words are these ones.

Say them after me, and then I'll tell you what it means.

Cobbler, say it with me cobbler.

So a cobbler is a person who mends shoes as a job.

And it was a job that used to exist.

Lots of people used to have it as a job in the olden times.

So a person who mends shoes as job, a cobbler Orphan, Say it, orphan this is a child whose parents are dead.

So there's some orphans that you might know in literature, one very famous one is Oliver twist.

So I'm sure lots of you have heard of Oliver twist and he is an orphan.

And so it is thought that the main character in this story is also an orphan.

And then a cuckoo clock, say it a cuckoo clock.

And this is a noun as well as a thing.

And as you can see, I've put an image for you.

It's just a clock that strikes the hour with a sound like a cuckoo's call.

You might have heard one of these before and when it strikes the hour and it'll cuckoo, as you can see, this person is pointing in the picture, appears at the top and comes out.

So you might have seen one of them before.

So these are three words that are going to come up in our reading today.

So now I'm going to read the story to you.

Now it might be a little tricky to see.

So you'll just going to have to really listen to me.

And if you want to, you can then pause the video and read the text, but don't worry if you find the reading hard, I would expect you to.

So keep going if you find it hard or you can just listen to me and I'm going to show you the story.

Before I start my reading, I need to remember that if a word has a capital letter and it is in the middle of a sentence then it is the name of a place or person.

So I don't have to know what it means.

This is really important whenever I read a new story, because it will help me not to get stuck with my reading.

So if it's a name, it will have a capital letter.

And it's likely that anything in the middle of a sentence with a capital letter is a place or a person.

So I don't need to know what that word would mean.


I hope that you're sat comfortably.

I want you to be listening throughout this story and you can track it if you can, but don't worry if you can't track as I read, okay.

"I Was A Rat" by Phillip Pull man.

Old Bob and his wife Joan lived by the market in the house where his father and grandfather and great grandfather had lived before him.

Cobblers, all of them, and cobbling was Bob's trade too.

That was a really wordy sentence Isn't it? So we know cobbler is one who makes shoes.

So we know that Bob makes shoes.

A trade is your job.

Joan was a washer woman like her mother, a washer woman is one who washes clothes like her mother and her grandmother and her great grandmother, back as far as anyone could remember.

So you've met two people so far, who are those two people? Well done.

Bob and Joan And we know they are married because we're told that Joan is Bob's wife.

And if they'd had a son, he would have become a cobbler in his turn.

And if they'd had a daughter, she would have done the laundry trade.

And so the world would have gone on, but they never had a child whether boy or girl.

And now they were getting old.

It seemed less and less likely that they ever would much as they would have liked to.

So from this section, we learn that Bob and Joan have always wanted a child, but actually they've never had one.

I'm going to carry on with my reading now.

One evening, as old Joan wrote a letter to her niece and old Bob sat trimming the heels of a pair of tiny Scarlet slippers.

He was making for the love of it.

They came a knock at the door.

If you're making something for the love of it, it's because you enjoy it.

Bob looked up with a jump.

"Was that someone knocking?" He said, "what's the time?" The cuckoo clock, we know where that is now, answered him before Joan could, 10 o'clock.

As soon as it had finished cuckooing, there came another knock, louder than before.

Bob lit a candle and went to the dark shop to unlock the front door.

Standing in the moonlight was a little boy in a page's uniform.

It had once been smart, but it was sorely torn and stained.

And the boy's face was scratched and grubby.

So page's uniform is a uniform he'd wear for his work.

"Bless my soul" said Bob, "who are you?" "I was a rat' said the little boy.

"What did you say?" Said Joan crowding in behind her husband.

"I was a rat" said the little boy again, "You were a.

go on with you! Where do you live?" She said, "what's your name?" But the little boy could only say "I was a rat." The old couple took him into the kitchen because the night was cold and sat him down by the fire.

He looked into the flames as if you've never seen anything like them before.

"What should we do?" Whispered Bob.

"Feed the poor little soul" Joan whispered back.

"Bread and milk.

that's what my mother used to make for us." So she put some milk in a pan to heat by the fire and broke some bread into a bowl.

And old Bob tried to find out more about the boy.

"What's your name?" He said, "I haven't got a name." "Why, everyone's got a name! I'm Bob, And this is Joan, and that's who we are.

See, you sure you haven't got a name?" "I lost it.

I forgot it.

I was a rat".

said, the boy, as if that explained everything.

"Oh" said Bob.

"You've got a nice uniform on.

Anyway, I expect you're in service, are you?" Service is where you help somebody else.

So service might be a restaurant way to a.

'Cause there service.

They are serving you.


So a waiter would be someone in service.

The boy looked at his tattered uniform, puzzled.

"Dunno" he said finally.

"Dunno what that means, I expect I am probably." "In service, said Bob, that means being someone's servant.

Have a master or a mistress and run errands for them." Errands are jobs.

"Page boys, like you usually go along with the master or mistress in a coach, for instance." So you can tell when I'm reading this, this is set in kind of older times, for instance, we wouldn't now use a coach.

We'd probably say a car.

So you can tell that it's kind of set in old times.

If you don't know what a page boy is or a master or mistress, that's okay.

That's because it's very specific to the text were reading.

"Ah " said the boy.

"Yes, I done that.

I was a good page boy, I done everything right." "Course you did" said Bob shifting his chair along, as Joan came to the table with a bowl of warm bread and milk.

She puts it in front of the boy and without a second's pause, he put his face right down into the bowl and began to guzzle it up directly his dirty little hands gripping the edge of the table.

Guzzling is to kind of eat really fast like this.

"What you're doing?" Said Joan.

"Dear oh dear, you don't eat like that.

Use the spoon." The boy looked up milk in his eyebrows, bred up his nose, his chin dripping.

"He doesn't know anything, poor little thing" said Joan "Come to the sink my love and we'll wash you.

Grabby hands and all.

Look at you." The boy tried to look at himself, but he was reluctant to leave the bowl.

"That's nice." He said, "I like that." "It will still be here when you come back" said Bob "I've had my supper already I'll look after it for you." The boy looked wonder-struck by this idea.

That means a bit confused and amazed.

He watched over his shoulder, as Joan led into the sink and tipped in some water from the kettle.

And while she was washing, he kept twisting his wet face around, to look from Bob to the bowl and back again.

So we know he's really enjoying the food.

And he's a bit worried about losing the bowl of food.

So he must be very hungry.

"That's better" said Joan rubbing him dry.

"Now you be a good boy and eat with a spoon." "Yes, I will" He said nodding.

"I'm surprised they didn't teach you manners when you was a pageboy.

,"she said, "I was a rat," he said, "Oh, well, rats, don't have manners.

Boys do" She told him.

"You say thank you when someone gives you something, see that's good manners." "Thank you," he said nodding hard.

"That's a good boy.

Now come and sit down." So he sat down and Bob showed him how to use a spoon.

He found it hard at first because he would keep turning it upside down before it reached his mouth, and a lot of the bread and milk ended up on his lap.

But Bob and Joan could see he was trying, and he was a quick learner.

By the time he'd finished, he was quite good at it.

"Thank you." He said.

"That's it well done" said Bob.

Now you come along with me and I'll show you how to wash that bowl and the spoon." While they were doing that, Bob said, "do you know how old you are?" "Yes." Said the boy.

"I know that alright.

I'm three weeks old, I am." "Three weeks?" Why might they be confused about that? They're a bit confused and surprised by that because he does not look like a baby.

He's a grown boy.

So he definitely can't be three weeks old, they think? "Yes.

And I got two brothers and two sisters the same age, three weeks." "Five of you?" "Yes.

I haven't seen them for a long time." "What's a long time?" The boy thought and said "days." "And where's your mother and father?" "Under the ground." Bob and Joan looked at each other and they could see what the other was feeling, the poor little boy was an orphan.

So that means he hasn't got parents and grief had turned his mind and he'd wandered away from the orphanage.

That's where children who are orphans would live.

He must be living in.

As it happened, on the table beside him was Bob's newspaper.

And suddenly the little boy seemed to see it for the first time.

"Heee" he said that delighted.

"That's Mary Jane!" He was pointing to a picture of the Prince's new fiance.

That's new.

Before you get married, you could court one's fiance.

Before you've come a wife.

The Prince had met her just the other day and they fallen in love at once.

And the royal engagement was the main story of the week.

"She's going to marry the Prince." said Bob, "But she ain't called Mary Jane.

That ain't the kind of name they give princesses." "I expect you must've got confused," said Joan "And you can't go anywhere else tonight that's for sure.

We'll make up a bed my love.

And you can sleep here and we'll find a proper place for you in the morning." "Ah," he said, "I didn't know that proper place, else I'd have gone there tonight".

"Look we'll have to call you something simple." "Something" the boy said as if he was memorising it.

"A proper names" said Joan.

" Like.

Kaspar or".

"Crispin" said Bob "He's the Saint of shoemakers he is.

That's a good name." I bet there's a saint of washerwomen too." said Joan "only no one's ever heard of her." "Well, if it's a her it'd be no good as a name for him would it?" "No, probably not." she said, "I don't suppose.

I don't suppose we could call him Roger, could we?" Roger was the name they would have called a son of their own if they'd ever had one.

So we know at the beginning of the story that Joan and Bob wanted the own child, but they never had one.

And so if they had had one, they would have called him Roger.

"It's only for tonight" said Bob "can't do any harm." "Little boy" said Joan, touching his shoulder.

"We got to call you by name, and if you ain't got one of your own, we'll call you Roger." "Yes," said the little boy.

"Thank you." They made him a bed in the spare room and Joan took his clothes down to wash.

They gave Roger an old night shirt of Bob's to wear.

A night shirt is like something you wear to sleep.

And very small he looked in it, but he curled up tightly looking for all the world as though he was trying to wrap a long tail around himself, and he went to sleep at once.

"What are we going to do with him?" Said Bob squeezing the page-boy uniform through the mangle.

So that's kind of to press it and make it look nice.

"He might be a wild boy.

He might have been abandoned as a baby and brung up by wolves or rats.

I read about a boy like that only last week in the paper." "Stuff and nonsense." "You don't know," he insisted.

He as good as told us "I was a rat".

he said.

"You heard him!" " Rats don't have page-boy uniform." she said.

"Nor they don't speak either." "He could have learned to speak by listening through the walls.

And he could have found the uniform on a I'm washing line." Bob said.

" You depend on it, that's what's happened.

He's a wild boy and he was brought up by rats.

You can read about that kind of thing every week in the paper." "You're a silly old man." Said Joan.

So that comes to the end of our reading of the Oakland chapter.

In the next few lessons, we're going to look at that chapter in a bit more detail.

And we're going to be answering questions on that chapter.

But before we do that, whenever you read something, it's really good to develop your own opinion on something.

I don't want to say this is an accident, because it needs to be your decision.

So did you enjoy it or not? And is there anything that's left you puzzled? Now when I read this book, I was really puzzled because I couldn't imagine why a boy would think he was a rat.

Was he really a rat? Did he really grow up with rats? I was really confused.

I also find it really entertaining as a story.

So pause the video and then I want you to write down what your thoughts were on the opening pages.

Well done.

I really hope you have enjoyed listening to the opening chapter.

To finish up, we're going to summarise and see what you can remember from my reading.

How well were you listening? Let's find out.

So answer the true and false statements below.

I'm going to read them to you first.

And then I want you to press pause.

So, true or false.

The boy thinks he was a rat.

True or false.

The old couple have always wanted a child.

True or false.

The old couple, they named the boy Crispin.

So press pause.

And I want you to answer the questions and press play when you're ready to resume.

Well done.

Shall we see how you got one? So the boy thinks he was a rat is true.

He says that repeatedly throughout the opening chapter.

The old couple have always wanted a child is also true.

We're told that right at the beginning.

And they named the boy Crispin is false.

They named him Roger, which is the name they would have given to a child, had they had one.


You finished today's lesson.

I have really hoped you enjoyed listening to the opening chapter of "I Was A Rat." I hope your perhaps encouraged to go and get the book and carry on reading.

And I look forward to seeing you next lesson.

What I would like you to do now, is tell me three things you can tell me about "I was a rat".

Ready? Shout them out to me.


Well done.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your lessons today and take care.