Little Red and the Big Bad Croc

This traditional tale is an innovation on Little Red Riding Hood, and it is presented as an audio text. Listen along as you view each of the four illustrated slides and find out who lives 'happily ever after'.

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Text download

There are several ways to access this text:


Printable worksheets

Exploring characters (116KB)

Make stick puppets (115KB)

Story map: Little Red and the Big Bad Croc (84KB)


Teaching & learning sequence

This teaching and learning sequence outlines classroom strategies for Little Red and the Big Bad Croc, 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 (1.1MB).

Text features Cross-curriculum links to the Australian Curriculum
  • Animal character that talks
  • Non-specific setting
  • Beginning, middle and a happy ending
  • Repeated phrases
  • Has a moral
  • Foundation: Demonstrate protective behaviours, name body parts and rehearse help-seeking strategies that help keep them safe AC9HPFP05
  • Years 1 and 2: Identify and demonstrate protective behaviours and help-seeking strategies they can use to help them and others stay safe AC9HP2P05


First read

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


Ask students if they know the story Little Red Riding Hood. Discuss what they know about it, and invite a student to retell the story to the class. Alternatively, tell and/or read the story to the group. This will support students that have English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D) and any other students who may not have heard the story before. Download and read the traditional tale Little Red Riding Hood.

Discuss the story as a class. Who are the main characters? What message or lesson do you get from this story?

Explore the text type with the students. What sort of story is Little Red Riding Hood? Discuss and draw out that this type of story is called a traditional tale (or a fairy tale), and a traditional tale is a story that has been around for a long, long time. It has been told and retold from one generation to the next for hundreds of years, and many people know the story.

Have students turn and talk with a partner about other traditional tales they know. Have pairs share their ideas and discuss (examples include Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, The Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks and the Three Bears). What do these stories have in common? How are they similar? Discuss and draw out that they often have animal characters that can speak, they send a message or a moral, they often have repeated phrases and often have a happy ending.

Different cultures have different types of traditional stories that they tell. Talk with your students about any family or cultural stories that they know and/or tell. Encourage EAL/D and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) students to share stories from their culture and/or say the names of the characters or repeated phrases in their home language.

Read aloud

Explain to the students that they are going to listen to a story that is an innovation on the tale Little Red Riding Hood. Explain that an innovation means that the story has been changed in some ways, but the main storyline remains the same as the original.

Show the first slide, read the title Little Red and the Big Bad Croc and talk about the illustration. Ask students to listen carefully as you play the audio on the first slide. Encourage them to close their eyes if they want to and concentrate on the words as they listen. You can also download a transcript of Little Red and the Big Bad Croc.

After listening recap what has happened in the story so far, and ask students what they predict might happen next. What has Little Red been asked to do? Why did she go down the bank of the creek? What might she have seen? What might happen next?

Repeat this process for the next three sections of audio.

Make meaning

Provide time for students to discuss the story as a whole group. Guide the discussion using open-ended questions, for example: What is your opinion of the story, and why? What sort of character is Little Red/Crocodile/Ranger Evie? What surprised you about the story? How is it similar to the original? How is it different? What messages did you get from the story?

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.

Story map (whole-group activity)

As a whole class, discuss and summarise the story using a story map structure. On a large chart write down students’ ideas about the first main event that happened in the story. Prompt students to recall the next key event. What happened next? Discuss students’ responses, and then add the next main event onto the story map. Continue until the story is summarised. For example, your story map might look something like this:

This flow-chart diagram shows a story map for the key points of Little Red and the Big Bad Croc. Each element of the story is in a box and boxes are linked by arrows to show the sequence of events in the text.

Australian Curriculum links

Exploring characters (independent activity)

What is a character? Discuss and draw out that a character is someone in a story who does things; talks, thinks, walks, moves, etc. Identify the four characters in Little Red and the Big Bad Croc (Little Red’s mother, Little Red, Crocodile and Grandma/Ranger Evie). What do we know about these characters?

In small groups have students discuss the three main characters – Little Red, Crocodile and Grandma/Ranger Evie. Have them talk about the following questions: What is each character’s personality? How do you know this? What do they do or say to make you think this?

Have groups share their thoughts in a class discussion and add their ideas to a chart for each character. As students suggest a character trait, encourage them to provide examples from the text to support their idea.

If appropriate for your students, choose one of the characters from Little Red and the Big Bad Croc to analyse more deeply. Draw up a T-chart with two headings: ‘Actions’ and ‘Traits’. Ask students to provide examples of the characters’ actions (words, thoughts and what they did). Now ask students to infer from these actions what type of personality traits the character might have. For example, Little Red heard a sound and decided to leave the safety of the path and investigate, so personality traits could be that she is curious, adventurous and a risk-taker.

Introduce the Exploring characters worksheet, and have students write and/or draw what they know about each of the main characters.

Print the Exploring characters worksheet.

Australian Curriculum links

A lesson learnt (partner activity)

Reinforce that this story is a traditional tale with a twist, and that one of the purposes of a traditional tale is to give people a warning, send them a message, or teach them a lesson.

Ask students to turn to a partner and talk about the message they get from the story. What message or warning does the story send? What lesson does the story teach you? Discuss as a class.

Have pairs of students work together to create a picture that illustrates the message they got from the story. Ask the pairs to take turns talking about their pictures in a small-group setting.

Australian Curriculum links

A tale of two tales (partner/whole-group activity)

Compare the traditional version of Little Red Riding Hood with the innovation by Mae B Bolton, Little Red and the Big Bad Croc. Ask students to talk with a partner about the things that are the same and things that are different.

Have pairs share their responses, and collate the class’s ideas by creating a large Venn diagram, and adding the students’ ideas to it. Use the Venn diagram to show the characteristics that are the same between the two stories (for example, animal characters that can talk, story sends a message/has a moral, characters include a young girl and her grandma, set in a forest), and the things that are different (for example, in Little Red and the Big Bad Croc the main character is a crocodile, Grandma is a park ranger, and Ranger Evie/Grandma rescues Little Red, and in the traditional Little Red Riding Hood the main character is a wolf, the wolf dresses up in Grandma’s clothes, and the woodcutter rescues Grandma and Little Red Riding Hood).

During the discussion, make a point of comparing the characters of Crocodile and the Big Bad Wolf, and explain that traditional tales often have animal characters that can speak and behave like people.

Discuss who saves Little Red Riding Hood in the traditional tale, and who saves Little Red in Little Red and the Big Bad Croc. Draw out that a strong man, the woodcutter, saves Little Red Riding Hood and that a strong grandmother saves Little Red. Why might the author have changed the ending in this way? What message does that send?

Australian Curriculum links

Innovate (small-group activity)

Revisit Little Red and the Big Bad Croc and highlight the fact that it is an innovation on the traditional tale Little Red Riding Hood. Explain that the main storyline is the same, but there are some differences. How could we create a story based on Little Red Riding Hood? Brainstorm ways to change Little Red Riding Hood so that is becomes a new, slightly different version (an innovation).

Place students into small groups, and have each group write and/or draw their innovation on Little Red Riding Hood on a large sheet of paper.

Invite each small group to share their completed stories with the whole class.

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.

Identifying syllables (whole-group activity)

Use the characters’ names to explore syllables – Mum (1), Grandma (2), Little Red (3), Crocodile (3), Abigail (4), Ranger Evie (4). Have students turn to a partner and take turns saying each character’s name as they clap once for each syllable in the name. Repeat as a whole group.

Which character has the same number of syllables in their name as you have in your name? Invite students to share their answers, and discuss as a group.

Australian Curriculum links

Odd one out (whole-group activity)

Use words from the text to play a game of ‘odd one out’. Do this by saying a set of four words – three with the same initial sound, and one with a different initial sound. Ask students to listen for the word that is the ‘odd one out’ and has a different initial sound. Words you could use include:

  • ranger, rope, uniform, relocate
  • creek, sunglasses, crocodile, cupcakes
  • snap, scaly, cupcakes, smile
  • creek, gasped, Grandma, girl.

Differentiate the activity by focusing on end sounds or medial sounds. Words you could use include:

  • End sounds
    • bank, red, creek, quick
    • eyes, teeth, voice, smells
    • happily, sunny, ranger, grandmotherly
  • Medial sounds
    • red, snap, fled, bed
    • teeth, creek, team, north
    • path, house, shout, mouth.

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)

Say the title of the story, Little Red and the Big Bad Croc. Ask students to listen for the sounds they hear in each word. What sounds do you hear in the word ‘little’? (l-i-t-l) Repeat with the other words in the title.

Invite a student to write the word ‘red’ on a chart. Encourage them to listen for each sound they hear in the word, and write one letter for each of those sounds. As a whole group, blend the sound each letter makes from left to right to read the word ‘red’.

Use the word ‘red’ to have students practise manipulating phonemes. What would happen if I wrote this word with a ‘b’ at the beginning, instead of an ‘r’? Write the word ‘bed’ on the chart and have the group blend the letters from left to right to read the new word, ‘bed’.

Repeat by changing the vowel to make new words (rod, rid), and then changing the end sound of one of these to make new words (for example, ‘rod’ to ‘rot’, ‘rob’).

Repeat the whole activity by focusing on the other words from the title: ‘big’, ‘bad’ and ‘croc’.

Australian Curriculum links

Vowels sounds (whole-group activity)

Write the following character names onto a chart: Little Red, Crocodile, Grandma and Ranger Evie. Use these words to explore syllables, and locate the vowel or vowels in each syllable.

Recap what a vowel is and explain that the letters a, e, i, o and u are vowels, and that in some words the letter y acts as a vowel.

Focus on one of the character’s names and highlight the first syllables in it: What letter or letters make the vowel sound in this syllable? Invite students to identify and underline the vowel or vowels in each syllable.

Point out that every syllable in a word has a vowel sound in it, and that this vowel sound is made by one or more vowels. Invite a student to underline the vowel sounds in each word.

Have students identify the vowel sound and the letter or letters that make these sounds in each syllable of their own names.

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 that support students to develop and practise important communication skills.

Retelling Little Red and the Big Bad Croc (partner activity)

Listen again to the audio of Little Red and the Big Bad Croc. Have students take turns retelling the story to a partner. Encourage students retelling the story to speak in whole sentences using a clear, smooth voice. Also encourage the audience to use positive listening behaviours such as making eye contact and facing the speaker.

Invite EAL/D and CALD students to tell traditional stories from their culture to the class. Talk about the similarities and differences between the stories.

Australian Curriculum links

Puppet play (small-group activity)

Have students work in groups of four to complete the Make stick puppets printable worksheet. Ask students to colour in the illustrations, cut them out and tape them onto wooden craft sticks to create a stick puppet of each character.

Each group can either retell Little Red and the Big Bad Croc using the puppets, or create their own story using the characters from the story. Have groups practise their puppet plays before presenting to the class.

Print the Make stick puppets worksheet.

Australian Curriculum links

Little Red Q and A (whole-group activity)

Ask students to imagine they could meet the characters from Little Red and the Big Bad Croc and ask them questions. What things would you like to ask Little Red? What would you ask Crocodile? What would you ask Ranger Evie? Discuss as a group.

Invite students to take on the role of one of the characters from the story. Choose students to pretend to be Little Red, Crocodile and Ranger Evie, and have them sit on chairs in front of the class. Choose students from the rest of the group to ask these characters questions. Encourage the students to ‘put themselves in their character’s shoes’ and answer the question as if they were that character.

Provide time for other students to role-play being a character from the story.

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.

Reading role-model (partner activity)

Replay some or all of the audio of Little Red and the Big Bad Croc before asking students their opinion about it. What do you like about how this story was read? What did the reader do to make it exciting? What makes it interesting to listen to? Discuss and draw out that the voice actor who recorded this reading made it interesting and exciting by:

  • using a clear, smooth voice that is easy to understand
  • changing her voice’s pace (how fast or slow she read) and the volume (how loudly or softly she read)
  • changing her voice so that each character sounded different (had a ‘character voice’).

Have students focus on reading and speaking fluently by completing some or all of the following activities. Encourage them to keep in mind the things they have learnt by listening to the reading of Little Red and the Big Bad Croc as they do each activity.

  • Work with a partner, and practise reading a book they know well to each other. Encourage students to give positive feedback to their partner after they have read.
  • Create an audio recording of a reading of a book, and then share their recordings with the whole class.
  • Create an audio recording of a retelling of a traditional tale or other family or cultural story they know well. Encourage them to use ‘character voices’ and to speak clearly and smoothly.

Australian Curriculum links


Having a rich, broad vocabulary assists students when they tackle 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.

Text type words (whole-group activity)

Examine the words and phrases in Little Red and the Big Bad Croc that are typical of traditional tales. What is the opening line? Have you heard this before? What is said near the end of the story that you hear in many stories like this? Highlight and discuss the use of the phrases ‘Once upon a time’ and ‘happily ever after’. Explain that these phrases are often found in traditional tales. What does this tell us about the setting of traditional tales? Explain that traditional tales have no actual time setting – they are timeless. This means that the story, and the messages in the story, often stay relevant to people across many hundreds of years.

What phrases are repeated in this story? Highlight the repeated dialogue between Little Red and Crocodile: ‘Grandma, what big eyes you have’ and ‘All the better to see you with …’ Explain that traditional tales often have repeated phrases. Discuss other examples such as ‘I’ll huff and I’ll puff …’ from The Three Little Pigs, and ‘Too hot … too cold … just right’ from Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Australian Curriculum links

Adjectives (independent activity)

Revise what an adjective is – a word that describes something, for example, how it looks (such as its size, colour and shape).

Ask students to listen carefully to the audio in slides one and two, and identify adjectives used to describe Little Red (little, brave, inquisitive) and Crocodile (Big Bad, scaly). Have them share these with the group and list them on a chart. What other words can we use to describe Little Red and Crocodile? Use students’ ideas to add to the list of adjectives.

Have students draw a picture of one of the characters from the story. Ask them to put adjectives (or adjectival phrases) next to their picture to describe the character they have drawn.

Collate students’ pictures and create a class book to share.

Australian Curriculum links

Figuring out phrases (whole-group activity)

Replay the audio for slide 1. Ask students to listen carefully for interesting phrases that describe Little Red’s actions. What phrases describe how Little Red does things? What phrases do you find interesting? Discuss and draw out the use of phrases to describe, and the use of figurative language such as ‘floated along the path’, ‘quick as a flash’, ‘stopped dead in her tracks’ and ‘eyes grew wide’.

Discuss the meaning of each phrase, and illustrate the way these phrases are used to help explain how something happens. For example, Little Red didn’t actually float along, but this phrase paints an image in our minds of Little Red walking in a way that shows she is feeling happy and light – as if her feet don’t touch the ground.

Play the audio of slide 2, and explore the meaning of the phrase ‘stomach did a flip’. Play the slide 4 audio, and explore the meaning the phrase ‘in the blink of an eye’.

Explain again that these words and phrases are used to help you to imagine what is happening – they ‘paint a picture’ in our minds as we read.

Australian Curriculum links

Talking Tier 2 (whole-group activity)

Highlight Tier 2 words from the text that are appropriate for your students to explore. For example, you could use some or all of these words:

Slide 1: brave, inquisitive, hesitated, investigate, inhaled, disbelief

Slide 2: bathing, divine, smoothly, brief, glance, scrambled

Slide 3: relief, croaky, dimly, gasped, fled, lunged, escaped

Slide 4: looped, clamped, relocate, grandmotherly.

Choose one word at a time to be the ‘focus word’. Play the audio from the slide number where the focus word can be heard in context, and ask students to listen carefully for it.

Discuss the meaning of the focus word in the context it is used. What does the word mean? Have students talk about this with a partner, and then have them share their ideas with the group. Explore the word further by:

  • discussing other meanings the focus word might have
  • inviting a student to draw a picture on a chart that symbolises the word for them
  • having students turn to a partner and take turns saying the word in a sentence
  • discussing synonyms and antonyms of the word. What other words have a similar meaning to our focus word? Is there a word that means the opposite to this word? Write these words on a chart.

Repeat with other words when and if this is suitable for your students.

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.

Story map

Reflect on Little Red and the Big Bad Croc. Who are the characters? What problem did Little Red have? How was her problem solved? Have students use the Story map: Little Red and the Big Bad Croc graphic organiser to synthesise their thoughts about the story.

Print the Story map: Little Red and the Big Bad Croc graphic organiser.

For families - new for 2024! 

Reinforce your classroom learning by telling families in your class about Little Red and the Big Bad Croc.

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 Little Red and the Big Bad Croc (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 Little Red and the Big Bad Croc (596KB).

Teaching practices & strategies

Try these strategies as you share Little Red and the Big, Bad Croc with your class, and use them in other aspects of your reading program too.

Supporting meaning making

Students can be supported to make meaning through active listening, intentional conversation, visualisation, and exploring illustrations.

Listening and visualising

For students to benefit from the rich language opportunities accessible through purposefully planned dialogue or conversations, they must be actively listening and paying attention to the speaker (Wasik & Iannone-Campbell, 2012).

Visualising is also an important part of making meaning when listening to texts. The instructional practice of helping students create mental images or supporting students 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).

Use Little Red and the Big Bad Croc to engage students in actively listening to the storyteller and to visualise the story as it is being told. You can support your students to pay attention by:

  • ensuring they are in a comfortable position
  • having them close their eyes to visualise the story – to ‘see pictures in your mind’
  • reminding them to concentrate and listen to what is being said.

Use the following instructional teaching and learning steps for listening and visualising.

  1. Prompt for active listening of Little Red and the Big Bad Croc.
  2. Have students close their eyes and visualise images as they listen.
  3. Discuss the storyline and allow time and opportunity to clarify understandings of word meanings.
  4. Invite students to share their responses and visualisations.
  5. Using a variety of art mediums, have students spend time creating their visualisations.
  6. Have students share and discuss the images they have created as a whole class or in small groups. (See below for more detailed information on exploring, engaging and interacting with visual images.)
  7. Through discussion, compare and contrast the creations of the students and the illustrator’s images.

Deeper exploration of images

Callow (2011) encourages teachers as a classroom practice to talk about multimodal texts in relation to messages communicated not only through the written text but also through images created by illustrators or designers.

Use Little Red and the Big Bad Croc to explore how visual elements and text work together. The four main scenes from the story provide a great opportunity to discuss the visual features of the setting, characters, props and other features the artist has used to communicate ideas, plot, character qualities and overall message of the storyline.

Working with the visual elements of literature along with rich text and a variety of text types provides opportunities for teachers to spark their students’ interest in literature, increase their knowledge of visual elements in communication, and boost their understanding of written language (Callow, 2011).

Use the four scenes and the following guiding questions adapted from the work of Callow to explore visual and written aspects of the texts and how they work together to tell a story and send a message.

Characters, events and ideas

In the context of the unfolding story, think about how each scene develops the characters and the story, and how it builds ideas and concepts. Help your students to think about the description of the characters, the setting and the events by asking:

  • How do the illustrations help to develop the characters? What extra information do they add to the words you listened to?
  • How do the visual images and language from the story work together to tell the story?
  • How are the descriptions in the story that you listened to shown in the illustrations? What extra information do the illustrations give us about the characters or events in the tale?

Reacting, relating and interacting

Think about the statements, questions, commands and opinions presented in the text – and how the visual images make us feel about and react to the characters. Notice the literary features of the texts such as personification, metaphor and interesting vocabulary choice and whether these are reflected through the visual images.

Help your students to think about these things by asking:

  • How do the illustrations and the words used in the story make you feel about the characters?
  • Do you feel differently when you see the illustrations than you do when you listen to the words? How?
  • Do the words the author uses match the illustrations, or are they different? In what ways are they different?

Design, layout and text organisation

Design and layout need to be considered in terms of the four scenes without written text. However, the layout of illustrations is designed to capture four of the main events in the story. Help your students to think about these things by asking:

  • Do you like looking at the four scenes without seeing any words? Would you rather have words on each page that match the pictures? Why?
  • How do the four illustrations make you feel? Do they inspire you? How?
  • Does the layout of the four scenes and the choice of illustrations do a good job to show what is happening in the story?
  • Why might the author and illustrator have made the choice to have the story recorded, and
    only illustrate four scenes?

Australian Curriculum links

Supporting language growth

Actively listening to stories, having intentional conversations about the stories and retelling stories support language development and growth. The reading aloud of stories provides enjoyment, exposure to decontextualised language, exposure to wide vocabulary, opportunities to hear the pronunciation of words, and exposure to the rhythm and intonation of language (Fellowes, 2017).

Little Red and the Big Bad Croc has been recorded for students to listen to, enjoy, and to be immersed in a different version of the traditional tale Little Red Riding Hood. The illustrations created for the audio text will grab students’ attention and support their understanding in a fun way.

Prior to listening

Engage students in a conversation about their preconceptions of the traditional Little Red Riding Hood.

If students are not familiar with it, you can read this version of Little Red Riding Hood, or view other versions by searching the internet.

Introduce the text Little Red and the Big Bad Croc. Read the title and ask students to make predictions about plot, characters, storyline and events. According to Duke & Pearson (2002), prediction is an effective comprehension strategy that encourages students to tune in to the story to see how their predictions turned out. This engagement can trigger deeper understanding. Furthermore, predictions also encourage students to activate prior knowledge, and use this to facilitate their understanding of new ideas encountered in the text. Activating prior knowledge allows students to connect the known to the new. Little Red and the Big Bad Croc is an innovation, and definitely a new version of Little Red Riding Hood.

Encourage students to make predictions by asking them questions such as:

  • Will the story follow the same predictable events of the original Little Red Riding Hood? How might it be the same? In what ways might it be different?
  • Who do you think Little Red is? What about the Big Bad Croc? What might these characters be like?
  • How might the story begin? Will there by a happy ending? Why do you think this?

During listening

Pause the story and check your students’ understanding by asking responsive questions and offering think aloud statements that support how the story is unfolding, vocabulary understanding, character development and setting descriptions. This will be important as the storyline and characters are quite different from the traditional tale.

When working with English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D) students, teachers need to consider their English language proficiency and support them to follow the storyline (Fellowes, 2017). When pausing the story consider students’ level of attention and comprehension. You can support their memory of what happens as the story progresses can by offering quick statements that recap events.

After listening

After listening to the audio, provide rich, high-quality talk about the story and illustrations. This should involve both teacher-to-student and student-to-student talk (Duke & Pearson, 2002). Encourage discussions at a number of levels including:

  • clarifying information and events
  • discussing particular vocabulary
  • discussing the plot – and how it differs from the traditional Little Red Riding Hood
  • making interpretations about character qualities
  • making connections to characters, events, settings and the plot
  • identifying the underlying messages that are intended by the author.

Retelling the story using the four scenes for support

Use the retelling of a story to provide students with an opportunity to use and practise language (grammar and vocabulary). After having sufficient exposure to the story through repeated listening and discussion, this activity can be introduced to EAL/D students. Small-group instruction will help to further develop students’ story comprehension, recollection of the language of the text and extend their English language learning (Fellowes, 2017).

When students are retelling the story, use the four scenes to trigger their memory, encourage them to use language from the text and prompt them for extra information as required.

Recording students’ retellings

Have your students orally retell Little Red and the Big Bad Croc and record them using an audiorecording device. Recording your students as they retell the text will assist you to observe their:

  • understanding
  • use of sentence structure
  • vocabulary selection
  • organisation
  • fluency, intonation, tone and expression when speaking
  • use of pronouns, verbs, nouns, contractions and prepositions.

For more information, see:

Australian Curriculum links

Arts-based literacy instruction

Arts-based literacy instruction uses multiple bodies of research – academic, cognitive, motivation and social – to inform and increase the range of methods teachers can use to engage their students with read-alouds and have them learn from read-alouds (Cornett, 2006). Arts-based teaching can be integral to meaning making and growth in comprehension.

Use these arts-based literacy pedagogies and the story Little Red and the Big Bad Croc to support the extraction, construction and demonstration of meaning.

Guided drama

The use of drama as an instructional strategy for language development, understanding stories and improving literacy outcomes can be an engaging method of participation, giving students voice, purpose and motivation as a way forward for literacy learning (Ewing & Simons, 2016; Harden, 2016).

Guided drama allows students to attend to and rehearse language for the purpose of communicating a story, emotions, messages and other information such as descriptions of settings and characters.

Enactment and embodiment are very helpful ways to support oral language and understanding (Ewing, Rushton & Callow, 2017). Little Red and the Big Bad Croc offers teachers an entertaining narrative full of opportunities for the creation of guided drama activities. Embodiment (where students use their bodies to demonstrate emotions or situations through actions) can be used for students to gain confidence before adding dialogue.

Possible scenarios for the use of dramatic situations (small-group or whole-class):

  • Guided by the teacher as narrator, students act out the story.
  • Select phrases from the text for students to act out using body movements, for example ‘There was a brave and inquisitive girl called Abigail’, ‘skipped off’, ‘floated along the path’, ‘a smile on her face’. How can this be demonstrated through body actions?
  • Students create conversations between different characters from the text.
  • Students create dialogue for Crocodile after he was relocated up north, telling his friends or family about his adventure with Little Red.
  • Act out a conversation between Little Red and her parents after her adventure. What would Little Red say to her mother or father about her adventure?
  • Use dramatic play, including settings and props, as a way for students to recreate the story.
  • Students pretend they are one of the characters, describe the setting they are in and tell and act out what they are doing. For example, ‘I’m Little Red, I’m walking through a park and I’m carrying some cupcakes …’
  • Use musical instruments to add another element to the scenarios.

Exploring illustrations

Revisit the text to explore the visual information provided through the illustrations for Little Red and the Big Bad Croc. This will help to support students to make meaning of the story.

Discuss with students that visual information is a mode of communication. As suggested by Ewing, Rushton & Callow (2017), illustrations can be explored through features of line and colour and how they work together to support the meaning of the story.

Key features of illustrations can be discussed through the different types of lines conveying different meanings. For example, vertical lines suggest height, jagged lines suggest tension and curved lines suggest ease and comfort. Key features of illustrations can also be discussed through colour selection and how it helps to create moods or reactions in relation to a person, place or object, as well as cultural meanings that have been assigned particular colours. Further types of line and use of colour can be investigated using the other 11 Shared reading texts or other story books. This can also be done using the students’ own illustrations.

Revisit Little Red and the Big Bad Croc and return to each scene to discuss the illustrations. Identify any of the elements listed above or any other features that capture your students’ attention.

Provide time for students to talk about their interpretations and express their feelings. Prompt them by asking question such as:

  • What interesting things have you noticed in the illustrations? What have you learnt about the characters or the story by looking at them?
  • What different messages do you get by looking at the different illustrations?
  • How has this image made you feel?
  • How have the illustrations helped you to understand the story?

Creating illustrations

Students can respond to texts by creating their own illustrations through a variety of art mediums. After having engaged with the story Little Red and the Big Bad Croc and talked about the illustrations, provide time for students to create representations of ideas, themes, objects, settings or characters. Students can respond to particular aspects or events in the story through a variety of artistic mediums. Opportunities to create illustrations to represent ideas about stories and opportunities to visually respond to stories through a variety of artistic mediums are very important for children (Mackenzie & Veresov, 2013).

Mackenzie (2018) exemplifies a strong case for the recognition of drawing as an important aspect for the meaning-making process. As students create their representations, allow them to talk as they generate ideas. Talking and drawing are powerful together as they allow for individual imagination, creation and expression of language (Mackenzie, 2018).

These suggestions for literacy development whereby students enjoy, understand and think deeply about stories shared with them, and are provided the opportunity to talk about illustrations and create personal illustrations, cannot be underestimated (Ewing, Rushton & Callow, 2017).

Character mapping

Students can engage in character mapping through text and illustrations. Revisit the story Little Red and the Big Bad Croc to engage in discussion about the use of language, including dialogue and vocabulary choices, in relation to character traits and qualities.

Character mapping can be used (Fellowes, 2017) to record and illustrate the traits of the characters, using evidence from the text. In this instructional method the students can take note of the vocabulary used to describe characters, the language that provides a context for making inferences about character qualities and the pictures that support this information. Here are some ideas for mapping the characters in Little Red and the Big Bad Croc. 

Character mapping of Little Red/Abigail (explore through language and images)

  • Brave and inquisitive
  • Skipped off (what does this imply about Little Red’s character traits?)
  • Floated along the path (what does this imply about Little Red’s character traits?)
  • Smile on her face (what does this imply about Little Red’s character traits?)
  • Investigates a ‘splash’ (what does this imply about Little Red’s character traits?)

Character mapping of how Little Red/Abigail changed (explore through language and images)

  • Never left the path
  • Never went near the creek
  • Never spoke to strangers

What do these dot points imply about Little Red’s character traits at the end of the story?

Character mapping of Crocodile (explore through language and images)

  • Stretched on a log (what does this imply about Crocodile’s character traits?)
  • Bathing in the bright sunshine (what does this imply about Crocodile’s character traits?)
  • Formed a plan (what does this imply about Crocodile’s character traits?)

Character mapping of Grandma/Ranger Evie (explore through language and images)

  • ‘Stop right there’, ‘you’re not going anywhere’ (what does this imply about Grandma’s character traits?)
  • Looped a rope lasso around Crocodile’s strong jaws (what does this imply about Grandma’s character traits?)
  • ‘You don’t belong in these waters’, ‘we’ll relocate him up north where he belongs’, ‘I’ll radio my team’ (what does this imply about Grandma’s character traits?)

Students can respond individually by character mapping through visual arts. Encourage them to create and share their individual artistic and imaginative representations of each character. Students can then select vocabulary to describe their characters.

Responding using music and sounds

Students can use music and sound to respond to texts read and heard. Visit this website for an instructional sequence based on the traditional tale Little Red Riding Hood.

Literacy teaching toolkit: Literacy experience plan – Red Riding Hood soundscape

In this instructional sequence students learn to analyse various aspects of the story and, in response to this analysis, create a soundscape using musical instruments to accompany the story. This experience should be differentiated depending on the individual student and/or group level/s. This instructional sequence can also be adapted to use with Little Red and the Big Bad Croc.

Australian Curriculum links


Callow, J. (2011). When image and text meet: teaching with visual and multimodal texts. PETAA Paper 181. Newtown, Sydney: PETAA.

Cornett, C. (2006). Center stage: Arts-based read-alouds. The Reading Teacher, 60(3), 234–240.

Duke, Nell K. & Pearson, P. (2002). Effective practices for developing reading comprehension. In A.E. Farstrup & S. Samuels (Eds.), What research has to say about reading instruction. Newark: International Reading Association.

Ewing, R., Rushton, K., & Callow, J. (2017). Two weeks with Oliver Jeffers: developing early language and literacy with literature. PETAA Paper 206. Newtown, Sydney: PETAA.

Ewing, R. & Simons, J. (2016). Beyond the script, Take 3: Drama in the English in the English literacy classroom. Newtown, Sydney: PETAA.

Fellowes, J. (2017). Using children’s picture books to support EAL/D students. PETAA Paper 210. Newtown, Sydney: PETAA.

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

Harden, A. (2016). Building bridges: Dramatic dialogue in early childhood classes. PETAA Paper 204. Newtown, Sydney: PETAA.

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

Mackenzie, N. & Veresov, N. (2013). How drawing can support writing acquisition: Text construction in early writing from a Vygotskian perspective. Australian Journal of Early Childhood, 38(4).

Wasik, B. & Iannone-Campbell, C. (2012). Developing vocabulary through purposeful, strategic conversations. The Reading Teacher, 66(10) 321–332.