Teaching with Intent 2: Literature-based literacy teaching and learning

by Bronwyn Parkin and Helen Harper

Chapter 3 -Text analysis


Before we start using a text in class, we need to do some work to become well acquainted with it. We need to know how we’re going to approach the text with our students and what we’re going to say about it. Most importantly, we need a very clear idea of what language resources it offers us. As well as thinking about the broad elements (such as genre, themes, characters, settings and plot), we also need to think carefully about how the author has put the words together.

In this chapter we look at how to prepare for narrative text study before we start teaching in the classroom. When working with a picture book containing small amounts of text, we usually write out and analyse the whole text, because chances are we will work with many short passages, page by page. When working with a short story or novel, we have already selected focus passages for study. In this case we make a broad analysis of the whole text, and then write out and closely analyse only the focus passages.

Text analysis is a planning exercise. We share elements of what we find with our students, but this exercise is not for the students. It is to help us, the teachers, clearly understand how the text works so that we can then confidently apply it to the teaching sequence in the classroom.

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