Reevy Hill Primary School

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To Be a Cat by Matt Haig


Matt Haig uses a lot of dialogue (direct speech where a character is talking) within this extract.

Watch the extract read by Maro Itoje.

Whilst watching, think about what job the dialogue is doing.

Is the dialogue:

  • telling us more about a character?
  • moving the story on?



Now watch Maro Itoje read a second extract. Whilst watching:

  • think about the impressions that you get as a reader and look for evidence that supports it
  • think about how you could write the next chapter in the same style as Matt Haig.

Now read extract 1 yourself...

Learn to explain how dialogue can convey character and move the action on

  • Using Extract 1, point to, highlight or underline any dialogue (direct speech, what a character is saying). Say it aloud and use expression to show how the character is feeling when you are saying the words.

Think about the relationship between the writer (Matt Haig) and the reader (you).

  • Which examples of dialogue had an impact on you?
  • When you read the extract, which dialogue struck a chord with you as the reader?
  • Think about how successful the dialogue is.


Make a table like the one below, write down the dialogue that you liked or found interesting. In the next column, write about how this helps you to understand the character or moves the action along (or both!).

In the third column, explain what this combination shows to you, the reader.

Now read extract 2 yourself...

Can you explain where your impressions of the story come from?

  • Re-read this extract and think about what impressions you get of Barney’s room (from his new perspective).
  • When you are thinking of your ‘impression’ keep it very simple. You only need one or two words.
  • Then, find the evidence in the text that supports what you think.

Record your work in a table like this:

Activity 3

Try writing in the style of Matt Haig

Re-read both extracts and think about Matt Haig’s style as an author using these questions.

  • What is his relationship with his reader like? (For example, he lets us in to the narrative and trusts us).
  • What is his style? (For example, he uses dialogue and he uses description).
  • What type of vocabulary does he use? (For example, he uses relevant vocabulary and it is not too challenging).
  • What do you think will happen in the next chapter?

Think about these headings and challenge yourself to write the next chapter, use these five points to start you off.

  1. How will your chapter start?
  2. Will you end the chapter on a cliff hanger?
  3. Which character(s) will be in your chapter?
  4. Will there be any dialogue and what job will it do?
  5. What impact do you want to have on your reader and how do you want them to feel at the end of your chapter?

All links and resources can be accessed on the BBC Bitesize website. 

Just click the link below...