Day Break

Free lesson plan, writing template and printable word-search puzzles for kids

alphabetical sydney

Best suited to:

K – Year 6

KLAs covered:

English, geography, art


  • the features of Sydney;
  • how people live in cities;
  • connecting children to the places they live and know;

Need to know:

  • this is a rhyming alphabet book where a rhyming, four-line verse is woven around some places or objects that start with that letter;
  • the illustrations are collage-like, incorporating bits of photos with coloured drawings;
  • a poem at the beginning introduces the book, mentioning a suburb for each letter of the alphabet; 
  • this book is, of course, especially good for children who live in Sydney and can therefore relate to the places mentioned;

Discussion Questions (before reading):

  • discuss the cover: what do you see? What do you think the book will be about? What does the title mean?
  • for older children: what do you think the format of the book might be? 
  • for younger children (K-Year 2): what do you know about Sydney? (it’s a city, it’s where we live, etc).
  • for older children (Years 3-6): what do you think makes Sydney special? Is there anything that makes it different to other cities you know or have visited? What part of Sydney do we live in? (name suburb and also whether it’s north, south, east or west);
  • if possible, display a map of Sydney on the class whiteboard or blu-tack it to the wall. Briefly discuss the map, where you are on it, features such as the harbour, etc.

While reading:

Since this is not a story but a collection of verses which can stand alone, allow the children to comment and ask questions at will. The children will recognise experiences and places and may comment on the illustrations or rhymes. They may wish to ask the meaning of an unfamiliar word. Sharing the book in this way connects us all through our shared experiences of our city.

Discussion Questions (after reading):

  • ask children what they thought about of the book. Did they like it? Not like it? Why? Which was their favourite page;
  • what did they notice about how the book was written? (rhyming verse). Can they describe the rhyme scheme (pattern)?
  • call the children’s attention to the rhythm of the verses and pick one to read aloud again, emphasising the rhythm;
  • discuss the illustrations: what did the children notice about how they were created? What is the effect of this technique?
  • ask children which language features they notice in the verses (adjectives, adverbs). What is the effect of these? (helps to evoke the feeling of being in that place)


  • children complete a wordsearch using vocabulary from the story;
  • as a class, pick one page in the book and investigate the rhythm and rhyming pattern. Read the page aloud slowly and tap out the rhythm together. Invite the children to explain the rhyming pattern (a/a/b/b);
  • after investigating and discussing the rhythm and rhyme of the verses, the children create a new verse using a letter of their choice. This can be done as a whole-class activity where you co-create a verse on the class whiteboard. For older or more capable students, it can be done in pairs, small groups or as an individual activity;

Creating Your Own Rhyme

  • children choose a feature of Sydney or you could choose the suburb where the school is located;
  • as a class, group or individual, brainstorm characteristics, places or events that make the suburb interesting or unique;
  • you could use laptops or the class whiteboard to search for images to inspire you;
  • circle any words in your brainstorm that rhyme;
  • use the words and images to create phrases and sentences about your theme. Check each one for rhythm: does the beat sound pleasing to the ear? Have you followed the rhyming scheme?
  • instead of a suburb, you could choose a feature (light rail, parks) or a place (beach, playground, library);

Your free, printable word-search puzzles and writing template

These free, printable word-search puzzles for kids are great for building and reinforcing the vocabulary used when discussing Alphabetical Sydney. They’re especially helpful for EAL/D students.

There are three different puzzles in this file to enable you to differentiate the activity according to the learning needs of your students.

Download and print our free writing template for use with the picture book Alphabetical Sydney here (PDF).

a flamboyance of flamingos
my name is not refugee
bee & me
lest we forget
the peace book