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Van Gogh’s hidden paintings

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By Catherine Gilhooly

This poster explores the real-life mystery of Van Gogh’s hidden paintings and explains how they were discovered. It includes examples of technical language and descriptive vocabulary, as well as demonstrating the conventions of layout and illustration that are typical of an information text.


Shared teaching and learning

Before reading

  • Talk about real-life mysteries and riddles – eg, yetis, the Loch Ness Monster, the Marie Celeste. Modern research methods are making it easier to solve some of these mysteries, but not all.
  • What do the class know about Vincent Van Gogh? Can they name some of his paintings? When and where did he live?

Shared reading

  • Display the poster and discuss the features of its presentation – the use of bold subtitles, photographs and captions. How does the layout suggest the chronological order of the explanation?
  • Invite individuals to read each section or paragraph, stopping to identify interesting facts and to make notes of the main points.
  • Encourage readers to attempt to pronounce unfamiliar words by segmenting them into syllables and making plausible phoneme choices.
  • Clarify the meaning of technical vocabulary, eg canvases, vibrant colours, portrait.
  • Discuss the use of ellipses to demonstrate the passage of time taken to reveal the image during the scan. Why did the author use them at the end of the final paragraph?
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