Faraway Places

This poem describes three amazing and wondrous places. The narrator of the poem is an adventurous girl who talks about what she would see and do if she visited these places: the moon; deep under the sea; and the cold, icy world of Antarctica.

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Text download

Faraway Places as PDF (5.9MB) (opens in new window)

Faraway Places as PowerPoint slideshow (9.9MB) (download)


Printable worksheets

What's your opinion? (133KB)

Sorting words (338KB)

PMI (plus, minus, interesting) (77KB)


Teaching & learning sequence

This teaching and learning sequence outlines classroom strategies for Faraway Places, including:

  • ways to incorporate the ‘Big Six’ core elements of reading development
  • fun, engaging and adaptable student activities for a diverse range of abilities
  • links to the Australian Curriculum.

Download a PDF of this teaching sequence (646KB).

Text features Cross-curriculum links to the Australian Curriculum
  • Three verses
  • Descriptive language
  • Rhyming words
  • Consistent beats per line
  • Foundation: The features of familiar places they belong to, why some places are special and how places can be looked after AC9HSFK03
  • Year 1: The natural, managed and constructed features of local places, and their location AC9HS1K03
  • Year 2: Recognise Earth is a planet in the solar system and identify patterns in the changing position of the sun, moon, planets and stars in the sky AC9S2U01


First read

As a whole group, enjoy sharing the text and learning together.


Encourage students to use their imagination. Close your eyes and imagine you are on the moon. What would you see? What would it feel like? What would you be thinking? Have students turn and talk to a partner. Encourage students to share their ideas and use these to fill in a large see/think/feel Y-chart.

Repeat the activity asking students to imagine they are deep under the sea and then imagine they are in Antarctica (you may need to explain that Antarctica has a freezing cold climate and land that is mostly covered in ice). Fill in a separate see/think/feel Y-chart for each place, and retain these to use again later.

Tell the students that you are going to share a poem about these three interesting and faraway places.

Read aloud

Read the first verse of Faraway Places with rhythm and expression, and then discuss the imagery and mood of the poem. What images or pictures did you ‘see in your mind’ as I read the poem aloud? How did the poem make you feel?

Read the other two verses and discuss in a similar manner.

Make meaning

Support students in making meaning through a class discussion. Who is ‘the speaker’ or narrator of the poem? Discuss and draw out that the girl in the illustrations is narrating the poem – it is her thoughts and words. Do you ever imagine visiting interesting, faraway places like this girl does? What faraway place would you like to visit? Allow time for students to share their thoughts and ideas.

Reread verse one and then revisit the see/think/feel Y-chart created earlier. What new ideas would you like to add to our chart? Scribe further ideas the students might have onto the chart.

Repeat with the other two verses.

Revisit the text

Return to the text several times to look more closely at different aspects of its content, structure and language features. This is a great vehicle for exploring the ‘Big Six’ of literacy in an integrated way, with all components linking to the same text. 


Reading is about making meaning. Choose from these comprehension activities to help your students explore the text deeply, make personal connections, develop new understandings, and draw conclusions. The activities will also help students analyse the text, think critically about it and form their own opinions. 

Talking text types (whole-group activity)

Discuss the text type and its purpose. What sort of text is Faraway Places? How do you know this? Discuss what makes a poem a poem. Draw out that most poems have a rhythm. Highlight and model the rhythm of Faraway Places. Explain that some poems have words, phrases or whole lines that are repeated.

Talk about the rhyming words in Faraway Places. Which words rhyme? Discuss and draw out that each verse has three sets of rhyming words. Work with the students to identify these words. Explain that not all poems have rhyming words.

What is the purpose of a poem? Discuss and draw out that a poem is written to entertain people, to provide enjoyment, to share feelings, thoughts and ideas. Some poems can teach us things or contain a message. What did you learn by hearing this poem? Discuss.

Have students reflect on the poem’s meaning and messages, and the author’s point of view. What does the poem say about our world? What do you think the author’s opinion of the world is?

Australian Curriculum links

Viewing the visuals (whole-group activity)

Revisit each verse of the poem and ask students to focus on the illustrations. How do the illustrations add to the poem? What do they show us that isn’t written in the text? What do they tell us about the girl? Discuss as a group.

Australian Curriculum links

What’s your opinion? (independent activity)

Pose the questions: Which place written about in the poem would you most like to visit and why? Is there a place that you wouldn’t you like to visit? Why? Have students discuss the questions in small groups.

Write the statement ‘I’d like to visit the moon’ on a chart. Underneath the statement draw a continuum line with the label ‘strongly disagree’ on one end, and the label ‘strongly agree’ on the other end (see example below). Mark an X on the line to show your opinion. Think aloud as you explain your reasons for having this opinion, and write about it on the chart.

Introduce the What’s your opinion? worksheet, and have students complete it. After students complete their worksheets, have them talk about them in small groups.

Print the What’s your opinion? worksheet.

Australian Curriculum links

Put yourself in the picture (independent activity)

Encourage students to make personal connections with the poem. What place or places would you love to visit and why? Have students share their opinions and justify them.

Have students draw a picture of themselves in their chosen amazing, wondrous place. Encourage them to imagine being there and what they might see and do. Students could write about their picture by completing the sentence starter: I’d like to visit …

Students can share their finished pictures with the group and explain why they chose the places they did.

Australian Curriculum links

Phonological awareness (including phonemic awareness)

These activities will help students to hear the sounds and rhythms of language. Guide them as they explore syllables, onset and rime and listen for phonemes – the smallest units of sound within a word. Use the activities to help your students identify the phonemes in words and practise blending, segmenting and manipulating these sounds.

Rhyming words (whole-group activity)

Use the poem to focus on hearing rhyming words. Read the first two lines (the first sentence) of the first verse and ask students to listen for the words that sound similar – the words that rhyme. Can you hear the words that have the same sound at the end? The rhyming words? (‘day’, ‘way’). What sound do they have that is the same? (-ay making the long a sound). Do you know other words that have the -ay sound at the end? (e.g. play, bay, may, lay, stay).

Repeat with some or all of the other pairs of rhyming words in the poem (explore/soar, place/space, see/free, too/blue, know/go, see/sea, around/abound, fun/sun).

Australian Curriculum links

Phoneme fun (whole-group activity)

Use the rhyming words ‘fun’ and ‘sun’ to focus on hearing individual phoneme in words. Ask students to identify the sounds they hear in the word ‘sun’ (s, u, n). What would the word sound like if we took away the s sound and replaced it with the f sound? Ask pairs of students to experiment with adding other initial phonemes (sounds) to the -un sound (bun, run, gun, nun, won). Have pairs share their ideas.

Repeat with other rhyming words such as ‘day’ and ‘way’ focusing on the long a ending, or ‘know’ and ‘go’ to focus on the long o sound at the end of the words.

Australian Curriculum links


Evidence shows that children learn best about the relationship between phonemes and graphemes when instruction occurs through a daily structured synthetic phonics program (also known as systematic synthetic phonics). Knowing about these relationships will help students to decode, and this is crucial for their continued reading development.

In addition to your phonics program it is helpful to expose students to letter–sound relationships they come across in other contexts, such as during shared reading experiences. Choose activities that are relevant to your students so they can practise and reinforce already learnt concepts, so as to build automaticity in recognising letter–sound relationships.

Matching letters to sounds (whole-group activity)

Use rhyming words in the poem to reinforce letter–sound correspondences already learnt by your students. For example, you could focus on the long a sound in the words 'day' and 'way'. Write these words on a chart and underline the letters that make the long a sound (day, way). List other words that end in the long a sound (stay, play, prey, grey, tray).

Repeat with other rhyming pairs that reinforce phonics concepts your students have learnt (explore/soar, place/space, see/free, too/blue, know/go, see/sea, around/abound, fun/sun).

Australian Curriculum links

Exploring digraphs (partner activity)

Reinforce the concept of a digraph – when two letters represent one sound. Revisit the poem and identify consonant digraphs that your students have learnt, and list these on a chart (e.g. rocket, there, than, fish, other, sting, much).

Have pairs write the word and highlight the digraph they are focusing on. Have them draw a picture to represent their word, and list two or three other words with the same digraph.

Display the digraph cards in the classroom as a reference.

Australian Curriculum links

Oral language

Oral language development begins at birth, and having a rich oral language is beneficial as a foundational and ongoing resource for literacy development. Oral language is embedded throughout the shared reading experience as students listen and respond to quality texts.

It is also valuable to involve students in specific activities that will continue to improve their oral language skills. Choose from these activities to help students develop and practise important communication skills.

Retelling (small-group activity)

Have students work in groups of three. Each student takes turns to retell one verse of the poem by explaining where the girl in the poem went, and what she did and saw there. Encourage students to use active listening skills such as looking at the speaker, nodding and sitting upright to show interest.

Be aware of the language demands on English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D) students and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) students when orally retelling. If required, give extra support to students by guiding them through the retelling as part of a teacher-led focus group.

Australian Curriculum links

Convince me! (partner activity)

Have students work with a partner to create an oral presentation that convinces the rest of the class that they should visit a particular place. The place could be one of the places written about in the poem, or somewhere else chosen by the students. Encourage students to include at least two strong reasons why it would be an interesting or fun place to visit.

Pairs can practise their presentations and then present to the class.

Australian Curriculum links


Activities aimed at teaching and practising fluency are important for students on their journey towards becoming independent readers. Explicitly modelling fluency and providing opportunities for students to practise reading aloud are integral to this.

Act it out! (small-group activity)

Model reading the poem with fluency, expression and rhythm. As you read, invite two or three students to act out each verse. Encourage them to listen to what is being described in the poem, and act accordingly.

Alternatively, students might like to work in groups and have some students read the poem aloud as others in the group act it out. Small groups can practise their performances and present to the whole group.

Australian Curriculum links

Echo reading (whole-group activity)

Explain that you would like the students to repeat each line (or sentence) of the poem after you read it to them. Listen to my voice and the rhythm I read with, and then be my echo! Read the first line of the poem aloud with rhythm and fluency. Have the students repeat the line after you.

Continue ‘echo reading’ throughout the poem.

Note: this poem is presented using sentence punctuation, with an upper-case letter at the beginning of each sentence and a full stop or exclamation mark at the end. Poems can also be written with upper-case letters at the beginning of each line, and occasionally they are even written without punctuation.

Australian Curriculum links

Readers theatre (small-group activity)

Provide small groups of students with one verse of the poem each. Have them practise reading the poem as a group. Encourage them to use clear voices and to read with fluency and expression.

Have each group read their verse of the poem to the whole class.

Australian Curriculum links


Having a rich, broad vocabulary assists students when they are tackling new texts. These vocabulary activities will help them to build their growing bank of words.

The activities introduce students to new Tier 2 and Tier 3 words, as well as exploring word families and a range of different word types.

Identifying sight words (whole-group activity)

Read the first two lines (the first sentence) of the poem slowly as you point to each word that you say. What words do you recognise in these first two lines? Invite students to say and point to words they know such as ‘like’, ‘to’, ‘the’, ‘off’, ‘in’, ‘my’ and ‘so’.

Continue by reading two lines (or a sentence) at a time and stopping to ask students to view the words closely and identify the sight words they know.

Australian Curriculum links

Homophones (whole-group activity)

Revisit the third verse and read the first two lines aloud. What do you notice about the last word in each line? Discuss and draw out that both words sound the same but they are spelt differently and they have different meanings (‘see’ and ‘sea’).

Introduce other common homophones to the group such as ‘know’ and ‘no’, ‘hear’ and ‘here’, ‘buy’ and ‘bye’, ‘for’ and ‘four’, and ‘eye’ and ‘I’.

Homophones can be tricky, especially for EAL/D students, so where required give extra support by explaining the meaning of each word, and saying it in a sentence.

Australian Curriculum links

Nouns and verbs (whole-group activity)

Use the poem as a vehicle to explore nouns and verbs. Refer to the first verse. Explain that a noun is a word that refers to a person, a place or a thing. What nouns are mentioned in this verse? Use students’ ideas to write a class list (moon, rocket, gravity, outer space). Explain that some nouns are things that cannot be seen such as ‘gravity’. Discuss other abstract nouns such as ‘love’, ‘hope’, ‘fear’ and ‘pride’.

Discuss what a verb is, and draw out that a verb is a word that describes what is happening, such as an action. What actions does the girl do in this verse? Again, use students’ ideas to create a list on a chart (‘fly’, ‘speed off’, ‘land’, ‘jump out’, ‘explore’, ‘leap’, ‘soar’, ‘see’). Explain that all of these words are verbs.

Repeat the activity with the other two verses and continue to add words to each list.

Australian Curriculum links

Topic words (partner activity)

Explore the verses one at a time to identify and list words that are related to the place the verse is about. What words are related to the moon? Use students’ responses to list the words (moon, gravity, rocket).

Discuss the meaning of each word. Ask students to take turns saying each of the words in a sentence to their partner. Invite a student to draw an image that represents the word onto the chart.

Repeat with the other two verses (Under the sea – octopus, stingrays, green turtles, fish; and Antarctica – glaciers, icebergs, penguins, seals).

Have students work with a partner to complete the Sorting words printable worksheet.

Print the Sorting words worksheet

Australian Curriculum links

Fish in a school (whole-group activity)

Pose the question: What is a school? Discuss and then draw students’ attention to the word ‘schools’ in verse two. What does the word ‘schools’ mean here? Discuss and draw out that the word ‘school’ can also be used to label a group of fish. Have students turn to a partner and take turns saying the word ‘school’ in sentences. Encourage them to use it in different contexts to show its different meanings.

Discuss other collective nouns that name groups of animals such as a herd of cows, a flock of sheep, a swarm of bees, a pride of lions, a litter of puppies and a pack of wolves.

Australian Curriculum links


Reflecting on learning

Help students ‘bring it all together’ and reflect on their understandings by completing a graphic organiser either independently or with a partner.

PMI chart

Talk about each place the girl visited: the moon, under the sea, and Antarctica. What are the positive things about visiting this place? What wouldn’t be good? What things do you find interesting about this place? Have students choose one of the places depicted in the poem to analyse. Have them write and/or draw about this place in the PMI (plus, minus, interesting) chart.

Print the PMI (plus, minus, interesting) chart.

For families - new for 2024! 

Reinforce your classroom learning by telling families in your class about Faraway Places.

Families can share the text at home and use the information provided to build knowledge and instill a love of reading.

Find out more about Faraway Places (for families)


Teacher talk

Read about evidence-based theories that underpin best teaching practices. Teacher talk includes:

  • pedagogic practices surrounding the 'Big Six' core elements of reading development
  • instructional strategies to scaffold learning for a diverse range of students, including English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D) students and students from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds
  • guidance for integrating these theories and strategies into your reading program.

Download a PDF of Teacher talk Faraway Places (475KB).

Teaching practices & strategies

Try these strategies as you share Faraway Places with your class, and use them in other aspects of your reading program too.

Scaffolding student learning

Faraway Places is a poem with three verses. The first verse is about the moon and outer space, the second verse presents the concept of being under the sea with marine life, and the last verse introduces the environment and wildlife of Antarctica. It’s important to scaffold your students’ experiences as they explore each verse so they can make meaning, understand new language, and further develop their oral language and vocabulary.

Making meaning

As you revisit the poem, verse by verse, allow for extended conversations around the concept of being able to explore different environments. Offer opportunity and time for students to have a personal response to the poem, either through talking or drawing. During these discussions you can scaffold and support students’ understandings by:

  • finding out students’ prior knowledge
  • encouraging students to make connections to their personal experiences
  • explaining important concepts such as ‘no gravity’, ‘leap’, ‘soar’, ‘schools of fish’, ‘icebergs’ or ‘glaciers’
  • exploring the use of verbs or nouns.

Talking about the poem

Talking about literature provides many learning opportunities. It allows students time to share ideas and opinions, and to listen to others. Sharing and discussing poems exposes students to a type of text they may not be as familiar with, and to a range of vocabulary.

Use Faraway Places to engage students in class, small group and partner discussions. Ask students to talk about interesting words in the poem, describe places they have visited and discuss or share other poems they know.

Social talk

It is important to remember the use of talk time with peers when building students’ vocabulary and developing their understanding of a text, as studies have shown ‘children, especially English learners, learn best when they are able to talk about what they are doing and learn from each other’ (Cecil, 2011, p. 174).

Allow students time to talk about the different environments and the landforms and wildlife that are presented in Faraway Places. Each verse explores different environments (outer space, sea/ocean and Antarctica), and two verses explore wildlife that can be found in these environments.

Visualising and drawing

The instructional practice of helping students create mental images and supporting them to visualise what is happening within a text helps them to engage with the content presented by the author and assists understanding (Gambrell & Koskinen, 2002). The poem Faraway Places offers the opportunity to use your students’ prior experiences and knowledge, as well as new learnings, to create mental images that they can then express through drawing.

Visualising and drawing is a great way for students to express what they have learnt. Guide your students through this process to help them create mental images which they can then use for drawing. Set aside time to revisit each verse separately. This can be done as a whole group or in small groups according to student needs.

For each verse you can follow these instructional steps:

  1. allow students time to hear, talk about and use the language phrase by phrase
  2. explore and talk about the illustrations within the text
  3. view and talk about related images and video clips of the different environments represented
    in the poem
  4. encourage students to notice particular aspects about the different environments and the
    animal features: What do you notice about …?
  5. use the ‘think aloud’ process to demonstrate how to create a mental image of one of the environments or the wildlife in the poem such as ‘a green turtle swimming in the sea’, ‘bright schools of fish’ or ‘glaciers, icebergs and penguins’: Describe what you are ‘seeing in your mind’ or visualising …
  6. have students close their eyes and create mental pictures in their heads
  7. have students talk in pairs or in groups to describe their mental images.

Reflecting by drawing

Once students have practised visualising in their mind they can create drawings. These drawings can be used as a stimulus for talking or writing to help students make meaning about what they have learnt. Providing time, opportunity, encouragement and resources for students to draw and then talk and/or write about their drawings allows students to make meaning (Mackenzie, 2018).

When using drawing as a strategy for reflection you can help students to:

  • express their visual images
  • show what they know or have learnt about each environment or particular wildlife
  • talk about their drawings with their peers as they create
  • use digital technology tools to reproduce their drawings or create new digital images to talk about
  • use digital tools to create voice recordings to describe their illustrations.

Drawing to express learning

Artwork can be used as a way for teachers to understand students’ experiences and knowledge. Meaning making through non-textual elements is particularly useful in diverse classrooms where the linguistic and cultural resources of students may be limited (Binder, 2011). Encouraging students to communicate their thoughts, understandings or learnings through drawing supports students whose home language is not English.

Use the poem Faraway Places as an opportunity to combine literacy, drawing and other art mediums. The students’ drawings and/or artwork will demonstrate their understanding of each environment or the features of the wildlife that live in a particular environment.

You can:

  • observe the detail of the artwork produced by students
  • acknowledge the information presented through the artwork
  • appreciate what the students have expressed
  • make informed judgements about what your students know
  • think about elements or concepts that may require further growth in understanding.

More information on children’s art and literacy can be found in this article.

Vocabulary building

Illustrating words or phrases

Embedding art into vocabulary instruction can be an engaging way to target growth in vocabulary and concept development. Explicitly teaching vocabulary through art helps clarify student misconceptions of word meanings and results in improved growth of vocabulary knowledge (LaBrocca & Morrow, 2016).

Faraway Places offers the opportunity for students to select words or phrases from the poem to illustrate. Using this strategy allows students the freedom to express meaning through drawing. These illustrations can be used to create a word wall or used by students in small-group discussions.

Here are some examples of words and phrases from Faraway Places that can be used for concept and vocabulary development:

  • speed off in my rocket
  • explore
  • no gravity here
  • leap and soar
  • marvellous
  • bright schools of fish
  • magical
  • Antarctica
  • seals on ice
  • penguins abound

Descriptive language

Descriptive language can make a story come alive or transport a reader to a real, factual place. Building a student’s understanding of adjectives and adverbial phrases and how to use them will help their language development. The more exposure students have to examples of descriptive language, the more confident they will become to use it, both orally and in their writing.

Use Faraway Places to assist your students to recognise descriptive language. As you read the text, point out and discuss the words and phrases the author uses to describe the settings and actions of the girl. Talk about the visual images these words create. Use these illustrations as a stimulus for discussion and as a time to revisit and use the language.

Some examples of descriptive language in Faraway Places include:

  • it’s magical under the sea
  • far, far away
  • dive deep down under the sea
  • a most marvellous place
  • huge glaciers
  • birds soaring around.
Fluency and choral reading

Teaching and practising elements of fluency are important aspects of learning to read. The poem Faraway Places provides an enjoyable context for students to practise reading aloud using phrasing, expression and intonation. Additionally, students can be encouraged to listen for rhyme in the poem.

Choral reading is beneficial for hearing and using rhythm, phrasing and expression of the English language and can be used as an instructional strategy for less fluent readers and students for whom English is an additional language (Cecil, 2011).

After you have modelled how to read Faraway Places revisit the poem verse by verse using the following steps for a fun shared choral reading experience:

  1. select either verse 1,2 or 3 to view on screen
  2. tell the students the focus is rhythm, phrasing and expression
  3. explain and demonstrate rhythm, phrasing and expression using each line of the verse
  4. read aloud each line several times
  5. students repeat aloud the line with teacher guidance
  6. students repeat aloud the line independently
  7. continue until the end of the verse
  8. now read aloud two lines in order for students to hear the rhyme
  9. students repeat two lines with teacher guidance
  10. students repeat two lines independently
  11. as the students become more familiar with the text they can read aloud the whole verse
  12. record the students so they can listen to themselves or record different groups of students.

For more ideas on using poetry with your students, go to Australian Children’s Poetry.

Phonemic awareness

When learning to read and write it is important for your students to be able to hear in sequence the individual sounds within a word. Some students may need additional support to do this. The following task will support them to hear and isolate phonemes within words.

Isolating sounds

Use words from Faraway Places to support students in isolating individual sounds within words. Teach students how to use sound boxes as a supportive framework for isolating phonemes. 

Use the word ‘moon’ and the sound boxes to isolate the word’s three individual phonemes (this can be done with one student or in a small-group setting).

  1. Slowly articulate the word for the student to hear: ‘mmm-oooo-nnnn’.
  2. Ask the student to say the word slowly.
  3. Use boxes and three counters as a visual model for the sounds articulated.                                           
  4. Demonstrate the procedure for the student. Say the word slowly for the student and push them counters into the boxes, sound by sound.
  5. Now ask the student to do this independently.
  6. If the student finds this challenging support them by sharing the task. The student says the word while you push the counters up into the boxes, and/or you say the word slowly and have the student push the counters into the boxes. You could further support the student by guiding their hand to push the counters up into the required boxes.

Use other words in the text that are suitable for your students to revise and reinforce phonics concepts they have learnt.

Some words to consider include:

  • Verse 1 – fly, land, jump, speed
  • Verse 2 – deep, swim, fish, free, yellow
  • Verse 3 – see, fun, sun, cold

Australian Curriculum links


Binder, M. (2011). Contextual worlds of child art: experiencing multiple literacies through images. Contemporary issues in early childhood, 12, 367–380. 10.2304/ciec.2011.12.4.367.

Cecil, N. L. (2011). Striking a balance: a comprehensive approach to early literacy (4th ed.). Holcomb Hathaway.

Gambrell, L. & Koskinen, P. S. (2002). Imagery: a strategy for enhancing comprehension. In C. C. Block and M. Pressley (Eds.), Comprehension instruction: research-based best practices (pp. 305–318). New York: Guilford Press.

LaBrocca, R. & Morrow, L. (2016). Embedding vocabulary instruction into the art experience. The Reading Teacher, 70. 10.1002/trtr.1488.

Mackenzie, N. M. (2018). The drawing and writing journey: progressions in children’s learning. In N. M. Mackenzie & J. Scull (Eds.), Understanding and supporting young writers from birth to 8. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.