Coraline – Planning Overview

Written by Dan

Last updated

Are you looking for a way to add a bit of creative magic and mystery to your English classroom? Coraline by Neil Gaiman is the perfect book to do just that!

Not only will your students be entranced by the thrilling story, but they’ll also benefit from exploring new realms of fantasy and considering topics such as family dynamics, identity, courage, and so much more.

With its epic imagery and deep character development, Coraline has quickly become one of the most beloved children’s books since its debut in 2002 – allowing teachers to revitalize their lessons with fresh material!

But how can teachers effectively incorporate this classic novel into their curriculum?

Read on below for our planning overview of Neil Gaiman’s timeless tale Coraline – one that will ensure exciting learning sessions for educators and students alike.

Related: For more, check out our article on Alice In Wonderland  here.


Key Themes in Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Curiosity and Adventure

The book follows Coraline as she adventures into a mysterious parallel universe. Her curiosity encourages her to explore and seek answers to life’s big mysteries.

As she makes her way through both worlds, Coraline learns the importance of understanding her environment and following her instincts.

Acceptance and Identity

The theme of acceptance is found throughout the story as Coraline is challenged to find her true identity amid the two universes.

Through various obstacles, she learns to embrace herself and recognize that she belongs in both worlds, no matter how different she may seem.

Courage and Resilience

Coraline demonstrates an inspiring amount of courage when facing the daunting tasks ahead of her. Coraline must rely on this courage to make it home despite feeling fearful or overwhelmed.

This resilience ultimately serves as a reminder that no task is too difficult when armed with unwavering willpower and strength.

Key Characters in Coraline by Neil Gaiman


Coraline is the curious and brave protagonist of the story. She is a young girl living with her parents in a large, mysterious house.

When she discovers the secret door to a parallel universe with peculiarly familiar inhabitants, her curiosity leads her on an incredible adventure to find her true identity and escape back home.

The Other Mother

The Other Mother is Coraline’s eerie world’s mysterious and evil being. Initially, she appears kind and patient towards Coraline but gradually reveals her sinister intentions as she attempts to enslave her.

Wybie Lovat

Wybie Lovat is a neighbour boy who does odd jobs for Coraline’s family. He introduces Coraline to the parallel world, warning her of its dangers yet aiding her in her journey home.

Wybie remains loyal throughout the story, risking his safety to help keep Coraline safe from harm.

Learning Opportunities from Coraline

  • Curiosity and exploration. Playing with what it means to explore in a safe environment and being curious about our world.
  • Encourage resilience and courage even when faced with challenging tasks.
  • Promote self-acceptance by understanding that it is okay to be different.
  • Embrace change as part of growth, recognizing that it can lead to more excellent opportunities.
  • Develop problem-solving skills and the ability to think on one’s feet.

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan 1


This lesson plan focuses on the learning opportunities from Coraline. We will examine curiosity and exploration, resilience and courage, self-acceptance, embracing change, and problem-solving skills.

Through this lesson plan, students will learn to be curious about their environment safely, overcome difficult obstacles confidently, value differences in themselves and others, recognize that change can lead to new possibilities, and build critical thinking skills.

Main Teaching Points

  • Curiosity and exploration: Students will learn about the importance of exploring their world safely while being curious.
  • Resilience and courage: Students will discuss remaining resilient even when faced with challenging tasks. They should be encouraged to take calculated risks when appropriate.
  • Self-acceptance: Students will understand that it is okay to be different from others and come to terms with this fact by focusing on what they are good at.
  • Embracing change: Students’ mindsets should shift towards recognizing that change can lead to more significant opportunities instead of fearing it as an unknown factor.
  • Problem-solving skills: Through activities related to Coraline’s story, students should better understand the problem-solving process and gain experience implementing their solutions.


At the end of this lesson plan, students should have learned how to think critically about the world around them and develop critical skills such as resilience and problem-solving, which are essential for success in all aspects of life. They should also have better understood the differences between themselves and others.

Key Questions

  1. What was one thing you learned from today’s lesson?
  2. How do you think weaknesses can become strengths?
  3. What strategies could you use if ever confronted with a difficult task?

Lesson Plan 2


This lesson plan focuses on the learning opportunities from Coraline by Neil Gaiman. We will examine curiosity and exploration, resilience and courage, self-acceptance, embracing change, and problem-solving skills.

Through this activity, students will learn how valuable it is to explore our environment with curiosity while keeping safety as a priority; rely on inner strength even when confronting difficulties; view differences among us as something positive; strive for improvement regardless of changes; develop critical thinking abilities necessary for real-life solutions implementation processes.

Main Teaching Points

  • Curiosity & Exploration: Students must explore their environment within boundaries set by parents or school authorities but remain curious about the unseen world around them – all questions must be asked if possible!
  • Resilience & Courage: Students must also find inner strength even when facing daunting tasks – stability is critical to progress towards achieving goals!
  • Self-Acceptance: With respect towards beliefs held by people different from us comes self-acceptance – focus on what makes YOU unique!
  • Embracing Change: Even though changes suggest uncertainty, there is always potential for growth through measured risks taken by individuals/groups – adapt quickly but carefully!
  • Problem-Solving Skills: Developing structured approaches for facing problems encountered in daily life requires practice & patience – let’s put it into practice!


At the end of this lesson plan, students should have studied different aspects present in Coraline’s adventures – bravery against uncertainty & doubts about our choices and the feeling of acceptance towards ourselves & others, leading us into growth despite any challenges thrown our way!

They have also improved critical thinking skills for completing tasks requiring understanding multiple points of view while finding an optimal solution(s).

Key Questions

1) How would YOU approach a problematic situation now compared with before?

2) What did you like most during today’s lessons?

3) How do your actions affect other people around you?

Books with Similar Themes to Coraline

This timeless tale offers an immersive journey into fantasy while exploring relatable themes such as identity, courage, and family dynamics.

Can you visualize the riveting discussions and critical thinking that Coraline could inspire among your students?

Our detailed planning overview provides a structured approach to incorporating this classic novel into your curriculum, ensuring engaging and effective learning sessions.

Can you imagine the transformation in your lessons as you delve into the fantastical world of Coraline with your students?


Q1: Why should I choose Coraline as a class text?

A1: Great question! Coraline is not only a thrilling tale but also a valuable resource for exploring themes like courage, identity, and family dynamics. Can you envisage the depth of understanding this could foster among your students?

Q2: How does the planning overview support teaching Coraline?

A2: Excellent query! The planning overview provides a road map for each chapter, ensuring a comprehensive exploration of the book’s concepts. Can you see how this could streamline your teaching process?

Q3: What themes from Coraline can we focus on during class discussions?

A3: There are several themes to delve into, including bravery in the face of fear, self-discovery, and the complexities of familial relationships. Can you envision the engaging classroom debates these themes could ignite?

Q4: How can Coraline help develop students’ language skills?

A4: That’s a thought-provoking question! Studying Coraline can enhance vocabulary, comprehension, and analytical skills through its compelling narrative and rich language. Can you foresee the linguistic progress your students could make?

Q5: What engaging activities can I conduct to consolidate learning after teaching Coraline?

A5: There are several interactive options available such as dramatic readings, creating artwork inspired by the story, or even hosting a mock fantasy game based on the book’s plot. Can you sense the excitement these activities could generate in your classroom?

Q6: How can Coraline contribute to students’ overall personal development?

A6: By exploring the dilemmas and decisions faced by the characters, students can learn about courage, self-discovery, and the complexity of human relationships. Can you perceive the life lessons and personal growth opportunities inherent in this captivating tale?

Website Resources

Coraline by Neil Gaiman – TES  is a teaching resource for teachers looking to use the novel Coraline by Neil Gaiman as part of their class curriculum. It provides activities and ideas to help students learn more about the novel and its themes, such as courage and resilience.

Coraline Teaching Notes: Bloomsbury Media is a PDF document containing teachers’ notes for using Coraline in classrooms, providing information on the context of the book and ways to use it in lessons, as well as literary devices used within the text.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman – Literacy Shed Plus provides detailed teaching resources for Coraline, including activity packs and project ideas that can be used with or without access to the film version of the story, lesson plans to aid with understanding literature and creative writing topics related to Coraline’s themes of curiosity, courage and resilience.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






Join our email list to receive the latest updates.

Add your form here