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Barn Owl conservation: Literacy educational resources

Lesson ideas and downloadable worksheets

The literacy resources on this page accompany our Wings of Change story.
These materials can be downloaded and photocopied for use in schools on the understanding that they are copyright of the Barn Owl Trust.
We also have resources for numeracy and science.

  • The Wings of Change Story
  • Re-tell the Wings of Change story!
  • Use new words about Barn Owls!
  • Practice your owly word order!
  • Act a part in the Wings of Change!
  • Persuade others to care about Barn Owls!
  • Want to read more about Barn Owls?

The Wings of Change Story

The Wings of Change story begins during the Second World War and moves forward in time to the turn of the new century. At the time of the WWII, farmland landscape in England was very different to today. It contained a mixture of small fields for growing crops and keeping animals with lots of rough grassland and hedgerows. These farms provided a haven for wildlife including Barn Owls which could find plenty of small mammals in the long grass. The story follows the Barn Owls living on a traditional mixed farm. It depicts how landscape changes following the drive to increase food production after the war caused a dramatic decline in the number of small mammal prey. Without their food supply, Barn Owl breeding success drastically declined. As the story moves forward in time to present day it explains how loss of nest sites and the construction of fast modern roads further exacerbated their decline. By the end of the 1990s only 4000 pairs remained.

Please download the full story text here or purchase the story on DVD presented by English naturalist and television presenter, Nick Baker, in our online shop.

Literacy wings of change story page1

Re-tell the Wings of Change story!

The Wings of Change farm goes through many changes over the years. Use our storyboard sequence to find the changes and re-tell the story in your own words. Why does the farmer need to make these changes? How do the changes affect the Barn Owls living on the farm?  Are other animals affected by the changes too? Why not write a non-fiction article about how farmland has changed since the war or how the number of Barn Owls has fallen? The storyboards are available as a worksheet handout with space for writing and as 4 large images for displaying.

Download the Wings of Change storyboard worksheet
Download the storyboard large images

Literacy Storyboard Worksheet

Use new words about Barn Owls!

Learning about Barn Owls means lots of new words! Use our word mats to help you learn how to spell these new words. If you’re not sure what a word means, use a dictionary to find out and see if you can use it in a sentence. You could write a story and see how many of your new words you can fit into it! Our 2 word mats are designed for different abilities with simple words on one and more advanced words on the other.

Download the Barn Owl simple word mat KS1
Download the Barn Owl advanced word mat KS2

Literacy Word Mat KS1
Literacy Word Mat KS2

Practice your owly word order!

Make sense of your sentences and learn Barn Owl facts at the same time! Can you put the words in the right order to create a sentence? Each sentence, once unscrambled, gives you a great fact about Barn Owls and how they live. Sentences need linking words to help them flow. How many linking words can you think of? Do you know how to use all of them to make your sentences longer? Use our worksheet to check how many you know and how to use them correctly in a sentence.

Download the Owly word order worksheet

Literacy Owly Word Order

Act a part in the Wings of Change!

Use the script from our Wings of Change DVD to recap the story. Or pinpoint places in the DVD to stop and discuss what has just happened. Why not split into groups and rehearse different extracts of the script to perform back to each other? Write your own script using this one as a guide. You could create an interview between a news reporter and one of the characters from the Wings of Change story. What kind of language would they use? How would they speak? How would they feel about what is happening to the Barn Owls?

Download the Wings Of Change DVD Script

Literacy Wings Of Change Dvd Script

Persuade others to care about Barn Owls!

Use your persuasive writing skills to help Barn Owls! Think about the Wings of Change story. What problems do different characters face e.g. the farmer having a road built through his farm or the Barn Owls losing their homes? How could persuasive language help? Pick a character, consider the problem they face and then write a persuasive letter to try and stop the changes from happening. Why not split into teams and have a debate about one of the issues e.g. building the new road. Take a vote at the end and see who won using the most persuasive language!

Want to read more about Barn Owls?

Take a look at our further reading list to find a selection of fiction and non-fiction books about Barn Owls. Alternatively, explore the rest of the website for lots of information about all things Barn Owl!

Download the further reading list