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Reading and Creating Texts 

In this area of study students explore how meaning is created in a text. Students identify, discuss and analyse decisions authors have made. They explore how authors use structures, conventions and language to represent characters, settings, events, explore themes, and build the world of the text for the reader. Students investigate how the meaning of a text is affected by the contexts in which it is created and readThroughout the year you will develop a number of pieces of writing in different styles in order to show your development of a number of skills. You will read a range of texts in order to look at the effects of form, purpose, audience and context on the author’s choice of structure and language. You will then use this knowledge to help you create your own pieces of writing. The skills you will consider include:

 

*     organisation of information

*     structuring of whole texts and paragraphs

*     knowledge and use of grammar and sentence structure

*     use of descriptive language

*     research skills

*     strategies for planning and revising texts

You will also create and present 3 – 5 pieces of writing in each unit.

 

Each style of writing is different and your teacher will explain these differences.

 

You will receive a grade for each piece of writing.  

 

 

FORMS OR ‘MODES’ OF WRITING

 

There are thousands of possible subjects for a piece of writing, but only a few major classifications or ‘genres’.  These are:

 

1.    Argumentative:

 

       Presents a clear point of view, stated specifically, supported by arguments, rounded off with a logical conclusion.

 

2.    Descriptive:

 

       “Paints” a picture which will interest and involve the reader.  (N.B. relies heavily on appropriate and varied vocabulary as well as a flowing               style of language.)

 

3.    Narrative:

 

       Tells a story, which must be of interest to the reader.  Often classified as imaginative writing.  Careful development of a “story-line”, logical              consistency, good use of dialogue and the ability to create an atmosphere are important.

 

4.    Personal:

 

       Based on your own real (or imagined!) experience.  (N.B. traps to avoid are over-sentimentality, repetition, trying to present a situation which          you never thought about before!)

 

5.    Expository:

 

       Discusses all aspects of a topic, “explores” ideas; may give factual information, and uses personal or other experience to illustrate                          statements.

 

6.    Informative:

 

       Provides information related to a specific topic  (not always a detailed an analysis as an expository piece.)

 

Although you may, from time to time, write wholly in one of the styles listed above, you will more commonly use more than one style in a single piece of writing.  However, be aware that your main purpose will determine how much of any style you use – e.g. to tell a story, to argue a case

 

 

As an ongoing activity, keep a journal or blog so that you can add regularly to your ideas   This will be a useful resource to draw on when you create your texts for presentation. 

 

In your journal/blog, you should:

 

  • keep notes from class discussions and brainstorming

  • keep newspaper items relevant 

  • record ideas and observations relating to the texts you have studied

      Responding to the Text : 

Writing Tasks 

The following materials will be of use when preparing for writing tasks.  The materials include sample pieces of writing (though not specifically linked with the Contexts of Personal Journeys and Future Worlds), as well as exercises to assist you in effective planning, development of ideas and successful writing in general. You may look at some of this material in class, but if not be sure to read through it in your own time.

 

 

THE WRITING PROCESS

 

There are a number of steps to go through in order to produce a finished piece of writing. Different writers have different approaches to the writing process but below are some ideas to get you started and to help you plan and prepare a piece of writing.

 

The Six Steps

 

  1. Thinking about your topic

Sometimes your teacher will give you freedom to choose your own topic and at other times you will be given a set topic. If you are given the topic, it is important to analyse it and think about it.  If you are thinking of your own topic try to come up with something quite specific as this will make it easier to plan your writing and give you greater structure. Use the various texts you have read as part of the ‘Context’ as a starting point for ideas.

 

  1. Developing ideas

It is a good idea to keep a journal or diary of possible ideas during your study of the Context. Brainstorm ideas with classmates and your teacher and record these in your workbook. You can also cut out articles, pictures, cartoons or other items of interest and stick these in your workbook. Increase your vocabulary by building word banks around the theme or idea you are studying.

 

  1. Deciding on audience, purpose and form

Audience, purpose and form are closely related. They affect your choice of content and language.

 

Who are you writing for? Deciding on your audience is an important decision which will affect the style and language you use. Some possible audiences are:

  • Other students in the class

  • Teenage readers of a particular kind of magazine (eg Dolly)

  • Older people who are interested in youth issues

  • Readers of The Age letters page

  • The local council

  • Readers of the school magazine

 

 

 

Why are you writing? What is the purpose of your writing? You need to think of a purpose beyond,         “to get a good mark from my English teacher.’ Some possible purposes for writing are:

  • answer a question                        

  • demonstrate

  • create an atmosphere

  • develop a theory

  • develop an idea

  • educate

  • discuss a statement

  • entertain

  • explain

  • explore

  • give instructions

  • inform

  • persuade

  • present your viewpoint

  • argue a case

 

 

 

 

What is the most appropriate form? Your teacher will help you select the form for your writing but you can think about this yourself too. Choose a form that will suit the purpose of your writing.  Some possible forms for your writing are:

  • An essay

  • A feature article

  • A letter to the editor

  • A memoir

  • An opinion piece

  • A report

  • A persuasive essay

  • A short story

  • A review

  • A dialogue

 

 

  1. Creating a structure or plan

You need to think carefully about how you will put your ideas together. In a story you might arrange events in chronological order or you might start with a flashback and then move to the present time of your story. In an essay you will arrange your ideas in a logical way so that your reader can see the development of an argument or follow your point of view on an issue. Your teacher will discuss and model basic essay structure with you.

 

  1. Writing a first draft

When you have completed your first draft, take time to read through what you have written. Ask a friend to read it too – they may pick up something you have missed, especially in terms of overall meaning and sequence of events.

 

  1. Redrafting and editing

You are now ready to redraft and edit your writing, taking into account any comments from your friends and teacher.