Jetty Jumping

Exploring the 2022 CBCA Short List: Early Childhood

AuthorAndrea Rowe

Illustrator: Hannah Sommerville

PublisherHardie Grant

Unit writer: Sophie Honeybourne

Synopsis: While Milla’s friends take big, brave jumps off the jetty, Milla stays on the blistering wood, scared of what lurks below. But when Milla accidentally falls off the edge, she discovers the beauty of the deep, dark sea – and her summer changes forever.

Themes: overcoming fear, bravery, motivation, summer, ocean, swimming and diving, friendship.

Year levels: Australian Curriculum: English, Years 1-2; Mathematics, Years 1-2; HASS (Geography), Years 1-2; Health & Physical Education, Year 1-2; Arts (Drama), Years 1-2.

 Why use this book? This beautifully written and illustrated picture book will resonate with young children on a number of levels: from surface concepts of places they love, things they love to do and playing with their friends, to deeper themes of what they are frightened of — and the many different forms that bravery can take. The book follows a standard narrative structure, enabling an early introduction to the pattern of orientation, complication and resolution. The vocabulary is rich and descriptive, and provides great opportunities for building synonyms, simple noun groups and initial verb groups. The text can be used as a model, or mentor text, to support students to begin to create their own texts. In terms of cross-curriculum links, this text could be studied in conjunction with a Geography unit in HASS about the features of places and the activities that occur there. It would also complement work in HPE about being healthy, safe and active.

Focus passages: The following pages have been selected for closer analysis throughout the teaching unit:
pp. 1-6, 17-22, 23-29

Reading and appreciating the book

Book introduction (big picture)

  • Before reading, suggest some things that young children might be frightened of (e.g. monsters, thunder, spiders, swimming). Prompt student pairs to discuss a time that they were personally frightened or worried about something, then relate what helped them to overcome their fears. Share as a class, prompting students to elaborate how they felt after they had conquered their fears. ACELY1655  ACPPS015 
  • The story opens by introducing Milla’s town and one of its main features: the jetty. Ask students to suggest some of their favourite places in their local area and record the top 5 responses. Jointly write a survey question with the top 5 student responses as the voting choices, then conduct the survey with the class. Students should vote on their favourite place and tally the class responses. Model how to create a simple picture or bar graph of the results then provide students with time to independently create their own graphs. ACMSP262 ACMSP050 
  • Jetty jumping is the favourite pastime for Milla and her friends. In pairs or threes, ask students to discuss their favourite activity and the place where the activity occurs. What is fun about their activity? What do they like about the place? ACELY1789 
  • The text follows a traditional narrative structure, with a short orientation, a problem and a resolution. Support students to identify the key aspects of the orientation (who - Milla, where - the jetty, when - summer), the problem (Milla is afraid to jump off the jetty) and the resolution (she falls in trying to get her bracelet and realises that jumping off the jetty is not as scary as she thought). Re-read the text, jointly identifying the transition points between each stage of the narrative structure. ACELT1584 ACELA1463
  • In addition to the standard narrative structure, the author has also used a repetitive pattern within the complication to build tension (the children jump off the jetty, they tell Milla to jump, but she does not). Identify how many times this pattern occurs (3 times) then discuss why the author might have used this repeated pattern (to build tension). Can students think of any other stories they have read that include a repetition (n.b. most early childhood picture books contain a level of repetition; ask the school librarian or look in the picture book section of your class or school library for some suitable examples). ACELT1584 ACELA1448 
  • The text uses a third person narrative. Introduce the concept to students then find examples of the third person voice, including “Milla” (proper noun), “she” and “they” (pronouns) and “her” (possessive pronoun). Work with the class to convert the proper nouns and pronouns into ‘I’, and the possessive pronouns into ‘my’, marking them up with post it notes or similar. Read aloud the converted sections of the text and discuss how and why this change of perspective might alter how the reader feels when reading the story. Ask students to explain which version they prefer, and why. ACELA1468 
  • After reading, make text to text connections with Parachute by Danny Parker & Matt Ottley, comparing and contrasting with Jetty Jumping in the following areas: the main character’s fear, their motivation for overcoming their fear, how they felt afterwards. Graphic organisers such as a T chart or a Venn Diagram could be used to scaffold student responses. ACELT1584 
  • A further textual connection can be made with The Deep by Tim Winton. This picture book follows a very similar theme and story arc to Jetty Jumping (the main character is afraid of swimming into the deeper water and wants to stay in the shallows, but a dolphin draws her out). ACELT1591 
  • Jetty Jumping could be used in conjunction with a Geography unit of work about Features of Places and beaches. The State Library of NSW has developed a unit of work on the topic, including other picture books with a similar setting. ACELY1665 ACHASSK033 

Close reading

Pages 1-6

  • The first page of the book provides a very clear example of personification: “the sun kisses the waves and the sand tickles your toes”. Although this concept is generally studied in much older grades, examples such as this are a great way to introduce younger readers to concepts of figurative language. Ask students if they think that the sun really ‘kisses’ the waves or the sand really ‘tickles’ your toes. Who usually might kiss or tickle you (e.g. Mum, Dad, brother, sister or grandparent)? Point out that, in stories, sometimes the author will make non-human objects do human things to help the reader better connect with the setting (depending on the age and ability of students, you may or may not wish to introduce the metalanguage ‘personification’). Help to explain the power of personification by rewriting the sentence as ‘the sun shone on the waves and the sand was soft underfoot’, then discuss why the personified version is more effective and helps build up a stronger picture in the reader’s mind. Further studies of personification in early-childhood books can be found in The Day the Crayons Quit series. ACELT1591 
  • On p.2, the author uses a series of prepositions (“under...around...on”). Explain that prepositions help us to understand the relationship between the positions of objects (this also links to early concepts of positional language in Mathematics).  Jointly write a preposition word-wall. Further explore the concept by asking students to use a classroom object (e.g. chair, basket, book) and demonstrate a range of prepositions by relating themselves to the position of the object. Add more prepositions to the word-wall as they are discovered. ACELA1452 ACMMG044 
  • Noun groups are introduced on p.2 with phrases such as “big brave jumps” and “the deep blue of the sea”. Support students to identify the noun in each of these groups (the person, place or thing), then explain that the adjectives in front of the noun help to build up a clearer picture of the noun in our mind. These adjectives tell us what type of jumps (big and brave) and what type of sea (deep blue). Further explore the concept of noun groups by taking the same nouns (jumps and sea) but changing the adjectives in front of them. Can we make the jumps and the sea seem silly, frightening, or pretty and elegant? (e.g. crazy wide-legged jumps, dark stormy sea). ACELA1468 
  • On p.5, Milla’s friends all carry out different jumps. Explain that these are all action verbs and ask students to list them. Play a modified game of Simon Says to illustrate the function of action verbs, always using the phrase Simon Says but occasionally introducing a noun (e.g. table, chair). When the noun is called out, the students have to freeze and do nothing. This should help to clarify the point that you have to be able to carry out the action for the word to be an ‘action’ verb.  ACELA1451 ACELA1452 
  • Interestingly, the author has created her own action verb by converting the noun ‘horse’ into a verb ‘horseys’ (this the reverse of nominalisation, called de-nominalisation). Point this out to students, and practice making up some other jump action verbs from nouns (e.g. chairs, rulers, Y’s). What would these jumps look like? How would you do them? ACELA1451 ACELA1452 
  • On p. 6, Milla’s emotions and her character are revealed through her actions: she “bites her lip and twists her bracelet”. Discuss what these words tell the reader about how Milla is feeling. Explain that the author could have written ‘Milla was scared and worried’, but instead she chose to ‘show, not tell’ with a description of Milla’s actions. Explain that, by providing an image of what Milla is doing, we can better imagine ourselves doing the same thing and so connect with what she is feeling. Work as a class to create some further ‘show’ examples that might help an author to describe when a character is feeling scared or worried (e.g. Billy gnawed his fingernails, glancing at the door every few seconds). ACELT1591 
  • Introduce students to the command, or imperative, form of a verb through the word “Jump!”. This verb form is special because it can be a sentence on its own without a noun or pronoun. Brainstorm some further examples of imperative verbs (e.g. walk, bend, run, turn) and practice saying them aloud. ACELA1446  ACELA1452 
  • Explore the use of an exclamation mark in conjunction with an imperative verb to provide extra emphasis. Ask students how they might read aloud the word “Jump!” when they see it on the page. Discuss how using an exclamation mark tells the reader to add emphasis to the word, phrase or sentence when reading aloud. ACELA1449 

    Pages 17-22
  • Re-read p.17 aloud, asking students to close their eyes. What would it feel like to be Milla at this point in the story? What words in the story help you to understand how she feels (e.g. “blistering … splinters … smells … of dried fish”)? ACELY1670 
  • Point out the variety of sentence lengths on pp.17-18. Explain that writers can change the length of their sentences to make the story interesting and to make  you listen closely to the short sentences such as “It’s quiet. It’s hot”. Practice creating a similar effect by jointly constructing a longer sentence as a whole class, then a short sentence to add effect (suggested topics to write on include feeling cold, being bored, or feeling lonely). ACELA1467 
  • Ask students to explain why they think there are four pictures of Milla on the double page spread on pp.17-18. What sequence of events do the pictures show taking place? Challenge students to create a series of freeze frames of Milla’s movements, moving between each frame with a hand clap from the teacher. Discuss how these images help us to understand what is happening to Milla and help to build up the action until the moment she falls in the water on the next page. ACELA1469 ACADRM028 
  • On pp.17-18, ask students to explain how their eyes move from picture to picture. Where does our eye go next and why? Explain that this is called a ‘reading path’ and it is set up by the direction in which the characters are looking. A good way to illustrate the reading path is to draw arrows onto a scanned image of the page. It is interesting to note that the reading path in this image mimics the action of the words, where Milla is bored and uncomfortable, then watches her friends, then reaches down to the water. ACELA1453 
  • Focusing again on visual literacy, introduce the concept of salience (the image your eye is drawn to first) by looking at pp.19-20. Start by looking at the shadowed image of Milla on p.19 (this is the most salient image as it is dark and positioned at the top left of the page). The direction her hand is pointing then leads our eye to the bracelet, following a reading path. ACELA1469 
  • On pp.21-22, explore the visual sequence of Milla when she is falling. Ask students to describe the expressions on Milla’s face as she moves through the water (students may like to act this out). What do these illustrations help us to understand about what Milla is feeling? ACELT1584 
  • Look closely at the written description on p.22. Read aloud, emphasising the plosive sounds: “plunges, past, pylons, down, barnacles, bubbles”. Practice sounding out these consonant phonemes and ask students if these are loud or soft sounds. Discuss how these plosive consonants add drama and tension to the story because they are louder sounds. A good way to illustrate this point is through comparison of consonant sounds with dynamics in music. Play students two different examples of a softer sounding and louder piece of classical music, and discuss how the louder, percussion sounds add drama and tension, just as the louder consonant sounds do in a text. ACELT1585 ACELT1592 

    Pages 23-29
  • Revisit the concept of personification from the first set of pages studied. Can students identify which object has been personified on p.23 (the bracelet)? ACELT1591 
  • On p.23, the bracelet is described as “shiny, sparkly and waiting to be saved”. Ask students to say these words out loud. Are the sounds at the beginning of the word loud (plosive) sounds like those on p.22? Discuss how the use of softer sounds calm the reader and help us to understand that the problem is being solved and everything is going to be fine. ACELT1585 ACELT1592
  • At the bottom of p.24, Milla gazes directly at the viewer. Explain that this type of gaze is called a demand, because it demands the viewer’s attention. Find further examples of demand gazes in other picture books in the class library and discuss the effect they have on the viewer. ACELA1453 
  • Study the font sizes on pp. 25-26. Ask students to point out which words are in a larger font. Why do they think the illustrator has done this? Why do they think the words on p.25 start small in the sentence and then get larger (because they mimic the movement of Milla from the bottom of the water to the surface)? ACELA1463 
  • Go back through the text and look at all the different angles from which the jetty is viewed. Explain that, in images, angles can help to add power. When we look at an image from a high angle (such as the jetty on p.6) it does not look scary (it has no power). But when we view the jetty from a low angle (such as that on p.8), suddenly it looks terrifying because it is big and looms above us. Practise the concept by using tablets to take images of things in the school playground from high, low and level angles. What is the angle of the jetty on p.27 and p.28? Why do students think the jetty was shown at this angle at the end of the story? ACELA1469 
  • Hot seating can be a great way to support students to infer meaning in texts. Ask students to imagine that Milla has just surfaced on p.27. Using the teacher-in-role as Milla (or a student if preferred), challenge students to ask ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions to Milla. Repeat the activity at various points in the story, finishing with p.29. How have Milla’s attitude and emotions changed throughout the text? ACELY1660 ACADRM028 

Word recognition, phonic knowledge and spelling

  • Depending on the class’ phonemic awareness and their stage of phonemic learning, pick a sound recently studied in class then go on a grapheme hunt in the text in order to find letters that will make the focus sound. ACELA1459 
  • How many words starting with the letter ‘j’ can the class generate? Task students to work in pairs to write down words on whiteboards or paper, then share as a whole class. ACELA1454 
  • Jetty jumping is alliterative. Can students find further examples of alliteration in the text with the same consonant starting sounds? ACELA1457 
  • Use the text as a starting point to study the morpheme -ing (jumping is the first example). Choose common action verbs such as play, walk, run, eat, spell, work, get and convert these into present participle verbs by adding -ing to the end. Students don’t need to know the metalanguage, but should learn that these words are always accompanied by the ‘helper’ words (auxiliary verbs is/are and was/were). Students could play a form of charades, where one ‘acts’ out the verb and another creates a present participle statement (e.g. ‘Tom is running’). ACELA1472 
  • The text is a great opportunity to study the ‘magic’ or ‘bossy’ e rule (split digraph), where an /e/ at the end of the word means that the vowel in the middle of the word, separated from the /e/ by a consonant, makes a long vowel sound. Start by reciting the short vowel sounds for a, e, i, o and u. Next, practise the long vowel sounds. Generate some examples of magic or bossy ‘e’ words, then see if students can find some in the text and record on whiteboards (e.g. “wave, dive, bite, move”). ACELA1471 

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Using the book for listening, speaking, writing and creating

  • The story starts with “In Milla’s town, where the sun kisses the waves and the sand tickles your toes, there is a jetty”. Explain that students are going to write the beginning of their own story, using the same pattern of the sentence, but replacing some of the words so that their story is about their favourite place. As a class, brainstorm favourite local places (e.g. park, bush, skate park, beach). Next, think about what objects can be found in these places and model some examples of personification of these objects (e.g. a park - where the trees wave their branches in the wind and the grass brushes against your legs; bush - where the gum trees flutter their leaves and the the dust dances in whirls; skate park - where the concrete rolls and dances and the bowl welcomes you). Challenge students to work in pairs to create their own sentences, inserting their own name, place and description or personification. ACELT1832 
  • Ask students to identify what Milla learned in Jetty Jumping (e.g. to be brave, or conquer her fear). What motivated her to jump in the end? Recap the earlier student discussion of some common fears (e.g. making new friends, heights, spiders, monsters) and how people could be motivated to face their fears and conquer them. Ask students to pick a fear and a motivation, then use a simple story planner to draft a story to help a character bravely conquer their fear. Depending on the level of independence with writing, students could either dictate a story or write the story themselves. ACELT1833 
  • Students could recall a time when they themselves were brave about something that worried them. Discuss in pairs, then ask individuals to give a short speech in front of the class. As an extension, students could create a short presentation about their scenario using a digital presentation tool of their choice and accompanying illustrative visuals. ACELY1667 ACELY1664 
  • For students still developing initial writing skills, a simple message from the story focuses on playing with friends. Ask students what they like to do, or games they like to play with their friends. Model a sentence on the board ‘I like to __ with my friends’ then record student suggestions as a word wall. Students should then draw a picture and write their sentence underneath, using the modelled example and word wall to support them. ACELY1661 ACELT1832 
  • The first double page spread of the story is a long-shot, taken almost from a birds-eye view, of the town, beach and jetty. Model how to add labels to the text to name the key locations and turn the image into a map (this could be done with post-it notes or using a scanned image on an IWB). Next, ask students to create and label their own map of a familiar place, e.g. school, playground or their house. Discuss how the illustration and the map have different functions. ACELY1671  ACMMG044 ACHASSK031 
  • Read Magic Beach by Alison Lester, asking students to identify what is happening on each sequence of four pages (there is a description of a part of the beach, then an imaginary sequence about something fantastical that happens there). Look at the underwater double page spread from Jetty Jumping on pp. 23-24 and explain that we are going to make up our own fantasy ‘mini-story’ about what might happen to Milla underwater (e.g. she meets a mermaid, or a sunken pirate ship). Jointly construct the short story as a class. ACELT1593 
  • The children in Jetty Jumping got very creative with their jumps (e.g. the ‘belly-whack’, the ‘starfish’). Find and record all of the ‘jumps’ in the book on a whiteboard or poster. Challenge students to work in a pair to invent a new jump. Providing there is adequate safety equipment, students could even demonstrate their jump using a low platform and gym mat, taking photos of each other mid-jump to try to capture the pose. The class could then develop a poster of jumping styles with the name of the jump next to either a photo or a stick figure drawing. ACELT1586 ACELY1664 ACPMP025 ACPMP031 

Relevant resources and links

  • Texts about overcoming fears: 
    o Parachute by Danny Parker and Matt Ottley
    o Starting School by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker
    o Sarah and the Steep Slope by Danny Parker and Matt Ottley
    o Mr Huff by Anna Walker.
  • Texts set at the beach: 
    o The Deep by Tim Winton
    o Magic Beach by Alison Lester
    o Greetings from Sandy Beach by Bob Graham
    o At The Beach by Roland Harvey
  • Referenced websites:
    o Features of Places: beaches: State Library of NSW Geography and English unit for Years 1 and 2.
    o Drama Resource: great resource for explaining different drama techniques to use in the classroom

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