All learners in the last few years of primary school need to have the tools to move freely around the ‘linguistic universes’ offered by reading and talking about books. The most able readers often need to become more capable of independently investigating higher-complexity texts. Teachers need to draw such students’ attention to the skills of the writer, by explicitly requiring them to investigate, interpret and experiment with language. The work in the classroom must routinely draw attention to language features, patterns, changes and effects. How do educators take learners into texts, and once in, how do they foster a more sophisticated learning dialogue between writer and reader? One of the tricks is to help students to share the emotions and experiences experienced by the characters in a story and then to gently shift some of their attention onto the advanced techniques being used by the writer to tell us what they want us to know. In particular, teachers need to expand the learner’s critical awareness by introducing and using appropriate vocabulary and fit-for-purpose technical terms. Words such as narrative, symbol, framing, exposition, empathy and so on need to become a natural part of students’ conversations about what they may be reading and for them to feel comfortable using these strategies in their own writing. What all these purposes have in common is that they will all promote questioning, empathy, curiosity, decision making, the consideration of new ideas and recognition that fiction is not a passive copy of reality but rather deliberately crafted in order to get us to rethink our perceptions. A suggested lesson plan is given, based on The Hero’s Journey, a ‘monomyth’ that encourages learners to explore the common structure of narratives. It’s a challenging structuralist framework that pulls together rules on how texts are constructed. Students gain an understanding about the stages of the journey, aided by illustrations from film and myth which they can then apply to a variety of texts they may be reading, no matter how complex the narrative appears to be.