The Lost Words

At St Michael's, each year, we dedicate a whole week to Literacy. The year 2021-2022 saw us engage with the wonderful book of spells 'The Lost Words' by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris. The book follows the concept of words that have been lost from the vocabulary of children and is full of beautiful artwork and powerful poems designed to ignite the imagination of children and bring the lost words back to everyday language.

I'm sure you will feel equally as inspired as our children did, as you engage with the activities the children completed. Scroll down to discover 'The Lost Words'.


We made creatures with the leaves and feathers of our lost words and then wrote a short description of them.

We looked at paintings by Kurt Jackson and then did our own paintings and wrote words on the painting to describe what we could hear, feel and see.

We went up to the woods, read the list of ingredients we needed for our spell to bring back the lost words and then went exploring around the woods to find them and add them to our pot.

When we got back to the classroom, we made our own wands and spell books, using natural ingredients.
Year 1

Year 1 had lots of fun in Literacy Week hunting for 'The Lost Words'. On Monday, the children had great fun finding the words floating around their playgrounds. Then a clue led them to the hall where they found the book all locked up with ribbon. The children worked hard to find out what the three words kingfisher, fern and bluebell meant.

On Tuesday, their hard work had unlocked the book of spells and magic had fallen out. The children learnt all about the kingfisher by reading the spell and understanding the words and phrases, using picture clues to support.

The rest of the week saw the children getting creative. They made wonderful watercolour paintings of The Lost Words.
Year 3

In Year 3 we created Zig Zag books for collective nouns. We went on a scavenger hunt for the Lost Words - dandelion, fern, ivy, bluebell etc. We also completed a scavenger hunt to collect items for our own lost words booklet - moss, clover, buttercup, bark etc. Finally we used all of our learning to create our own Kennings for a Wren.

Year 4

The year 4 children really enjoyed exploring 'The Lost Words' as it had some impressive artwork inside. Some words were unfamiliar; others were much more recognisable. Our Year 4 words were: heather, otter and raven. We wrote a Kenning on our favourite word 'otter' and had fun thinking of how we could describe the otter, without saying its name. Additionally in Literacy, we brainstormed some ideas to try and come up with as many collective nouns as possible, some favourites were 'a shiver of sharks' and 'a party of rainbow fish'. In art, we used a variety of tools to create some impressive work on our words and then we did a hunt around the school grounds for some of 'The Lost Words': dandelion, magpies, brambles, ferns, bluebells, ivy and acorns. We found many and some extra words, which we thought were really important to keep in our vocabulary.
Year 5

The children had a very inspiring week in Year 5! They found the concept of 'Lost Words' extremely fascinating and enjoyed discovering the ones in the book, as well as other words that have been lost from our everyday vocabulary. The children all produced their own poetry book, with a front cover made from natural materials that they collected. The poems were full of imaginative vocabulary and each had a different form. The children loved their learning so much that they carried it on for an extra week.

Mrs Pickford said that she often finds it hard to motivate Year 5 to engage with poetry, however 'The Lost Words' inspired them beyond belief.
Year 6

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