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5 — Analysing and comparing literary and informative texts

The cover of a book entitled 'Nanberry', which features a young Indigenous Australian boy

Above: Cover of Nanberry: Black Brother White by Jackie French, HarperCollins Publishers, Australia 2011 reproduced with permission of HarperCollins, © Jackie French 2011


During the shared reading of Nanberry: Black Brother White by Jackie French, specific reading practices have been modelled and made explicit. In this sequence the students will discuss the class novel so far (having read at least to Chapter 10) and identify techniques the author has used to make the story engaging. They will then compare the novel with the other texts that they have been examining.

Further teaching strategies and resources can be found in the Resources.

Activity 1: Comparing Nanberry to factual texts

Lead the class in an in-depth discussion of the class novel and compare it to factual texts. ACELT1602

Ask the students what type of text Nanberry is: is it informative (factual), imaginative (narrative) or a combination? Discuss the features of historical narratives. Ask the students if the book attempts, either implicitly or explicitly, to persuade readers to any particular point of view. ACELA1490

Look at the structure of the text (narrative point of view and alternating character point of view). Why do the students think the author has alternated the points of view? ACELA1490

Discuss the chapter titles and location and time identifiers at the beginning of each chapter. Ask the students how these support the reader. ACELA1490ACELY1690

Select a specific passage that deals with a historical fact (for example, the discovery of Nanberry, the smallpox epidemic or the death of Arabanoo). Compare this with a factual text that has been examined dealing with same fact. Ask the students how these texts differ and how they are similar (for example, language choices and description). Use a graphic organiser such as a Venn diagram to provide visual support. ACELA1489

Activity 2: Analysing points of view in a literary text

Use a strategy such as think-pair-share. In small groups the students will discuss the characters of Surgeon White, Nanberry and Maria and how points of view can be presented in literary texts. They will work with a set of question cards, or questions displayed on the interactive whiteboard to analyse this literary text. They should first think about their answer, share this with their group and then share with the class.  ACELT1603ACELT1604ACELT1605ACELY1688

Instructions for analysing points of view: