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10 — Language features of narrative texts and information texts

Photograph of a duck with a group of ducklings

Above: Fleet of Cute, photo of Anas platyrhynchos duck with ducklings by Kim CC-BY-2.0

This learning sequence develops the comparison begun in Sequence 9 and examines the language choices (noun groups and cohesive devices) made by the authors. The students were introduced to nouns and noun groups in Sequence 7. This sequence reinforces and extends these understandings.

Teacher resources

Introduction

Introduce this sequence by noting that the two types of text being studied unfold in different ways, going through different stages to achieve their purpose. As well as this, the texts also use different sorts of words, which the class will now look at more closely.

Activity 1: Sorting sentence strips

Give each group or pair of students an envelope with Sentence strips that have been taken from a narrative (Guji-Guji) and the Sample information report on chickens worksheet and ask them to sort the sentence strips according to whether they come from the information report or the narrative text. When the students have completed the task and class consensus has been reached on the correct placements, ask the students how they were able to sort the sentences successfully. Encourage them to focus on the specific language used.

Activity 2: Identifying noun groups and specific nouns

The students will have successfully sorted the sentences in large part because of the different language choices within the noun groups used in the two different genres. Tell them that the words we will be learning about are the nouns. Explain what a noun is, and remind the students about the nouns they looked at and expanded when they were looking at flying animals in Sequence 6.

Identify and underline the nouns and/or noun groups in the sentences from the narrative genre (Guji-Guji). The students can fill these into a This animal has … noun chart worksheet, placing the describers, classifiers and pointers in the correct parts of the chart. They can check their work against the Chickens and Guji-Guji noun chart solutions. Nouns such as egg, spots, claws, chicks, stripes, feathers, wings and ground can now be expanded. Compare this table with the What chickens look like noun chart worksheet solutions and revisit the comparison of the describers and classifiers of noun groups in information reports and narratives. Alternatively, you could repeat the activity using the sentences from the information report genre (Chickens). ACELA1468

Activity 3: Looking at nouns and pronouns

This activity focuses on how texts can be made cohesive and interesting with the use of different words to refer to the characters. Show the students the text on page 6 of Guji-Guji (use the interactive whiteboard or butcher’s paper):

A rather odd duckling hatched from the
fourth egg. ‘Guji-Guji’, he said, and
that became his name.

Have a student or students highlight the different words that refer to Guji-Guji (Guji-Guji, a rather odd duckling, he, his name). Similarly, look at the text on pages 13 and 29 and elicit other references to Guji-Guji (that ridiculous crocodile, He, the duck hero of the day).

Ask the students if there are any other ways in which Guji-Guji is referred to in the story. Build a list of words that refer to the character and create and maintain cohesion and interest through the text (for example, a rather odd duckling, Guji-Guji, a duck, not a bad crocodile, not exactly a duck, a crocoduck).

Go through the same activity, identifying and listing different words for the mother duck, the crocodiles and the other ducks in the story. Students can work in pairs or groups to do this. Initiate a discussion as to why characters are referred to in so many ways (to create cohesion and to maintain reader interest).

Compare this with the more technical language used to refer to animals in the information report about chickens. Give the students a copy of the information report or use the copy they have in their science books. Lead them through the text and have them highlight with a marker the various ways in which chickens are referred to. With a pencil, they can circle the words that refer to the male chicken; then, with a different coloured pencil, circle those that refer to the female. With another different coloured marker the students can independently or in pairs find all the words that refer to eggs. This activity should begin as a modelled task, with students offering their suggestions, before they complete the activity independently. Students requiring additional support should remain as a group and continue to complete the activity with your support and guidance. ACELA1464

Reflection

Lead a discussion about the different ways we refer to each other. For example, how are teachers referred to by school students? (For example, Ms N, Miss N, my teacher, her, she, Nicole (given name), the Year 2 teacher.) Students could volunteer different ways in which they are referred to. This activity is developed further in Sequence 12 when students consider the different ways in which they and characters in a story are seen by different people.