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2 — Patterns in illustrations: Informative versus imaginative

Sequence focus points

A caterpillar on a green leaf on the ground

Above: Caterpillar, photo by Jennifer Asha


Re-read or revisit The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Explain to the students that in this lesson they will look closely at the illustrations in a number of books and talk about how illustrations can be very different, and how they can tell us about whether a book is informative or imaginative. Define the terms informative and imaginative for the class. Provide some examples of informative and imaginative texts from the class library.  ACELA1430ACELA1786

Activity 1: Pre-reading – different types of images in texts

Display a number of informative and imaginative texts on the theme of caterpillars and butterflies that are illustrated with drawings and photographs. Compare and contrast the illustrations in one of the informative texts with those of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Ask the students:

Use the students’ answers to define and explain the differences between informative and imaginative texts.
Lead the students to an understanding of the differing level of realism in the illustrations of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by asking questions such as:


Activity 2: Modelled reading – the pattern of informative texts

Choose one of the informative texts to read to the class. As you read, predict the content of each page using the images or headings and sub-headings. Compare this process to the way The Very Hungry Caterpillar was read. Explain that the patterns of reading will change between informative texts and imaginative texts because they are written in different ways and for different purposes.  ACELY1648ACELY1650

Responding to literature

Allow the students to reflect and respond to the reading of the informative text at a personal level. Ask them to recall facts that interested them from the text.  ACELT1575ACELT1783

Activity 3: Independent reading – reading and classifying texts using images

Divide the students into small groups and give them a collection of both informative and imaginative texts with the theme of butterflies and caterpillars. Ask them to group the books according to whether they think they are informative or imaginative. Listen to the students’ discussions as they classify the books and record some of the reasons and justifications for groupings, to be revisited during whole-class discussion.

Bring the class back together and share the process of grouping. Revisit the reasons and justifications in order to reinforce the concepts of informative and imaginative texts.  ACELY1646ACELY1648ACELY1650ACELA1786

Activity 4: Independent creation of a visual text

Review the illustrations in The Very Hungry Caterpillar and the informative texts, making particular note of the pattern of the life cycle of a butterfly, which is evident in both types of texts. Ask the students to use play dough to model the life cycle of a butterfly. Photograph the models and display the photographs on the interactive whiteboard. Add labels such as ‘egg’, ‘larvae’ and ‘adult’. Model, using onset and rime to spell, as words are written.  ACELA1438ACELA1439ACELA1786

A butterfly and cocoon shapes moulded with play dough

The lifecycle of a butterfly in play dough

Above: Play dough models of the life cycle of a butterfly, photos by Jennifer Asha

Print these annotated visual texts and create a book to be placed in the classroom library for reading during independent reading sessions.

Follow-up activity

Students could undertake a study of Eric Carle’s method of illustrating. See Resources for possible sources of multimodal texts.