A Snail's Pace

poem by Cindy Breedlove , "Free snail ground closeup photo" is marked with CC0 1.0.

Learning Intention:

I am learning to describe the features of different texts so that I can compare text types.


Success Criteria:

  • I can describe the structural and language features of an article.
  • I can describe the structural and language features of a fiction text.
  • I can compare the features of different text types.


Essential knowledge:

For more information about text structures, view The School Magazine’s video on Code and Convention.

For more information about text types, view The School Magazine’s video on Genre and the English Textual Concepts’ page on Genre.

A comprehensive list of the features of various text types can be found on the National Literary Trust’s PDF A Guide to Text Types: Narrative, Non-fiction and Poetry.


Oral language and communication:

Do a think, pair, share asking students how they can tell what type of text they’re reading, whether it be a story or news article etc. Ask them to consider:

- What structural features help you differentiate?

- What language features give you hints?

Ensure students can list a variety of features, such as subheadings, statistics, metaphors, facts, beginning-middle-end plot structure, rhyme, rhythm, glossary.


Understanding text:

Read A Snail’s Pace, or if you have a digital subscription, listen to the audio recording.

Display the Britannica Kids’ webpage on snail and slug for students to read. Point out the photograph, caption, hyperlinked glossary for the words shell and molluscs, and the Did You Know? box.

Read the narrative The Flying Snail from this issue of Blast Off (pages 21-25). If you have a digital subscription, you can opt to listen to the audio recording. (You can omit this third text if the class is not ready to compare more than two text types.)

Ask students the following questions:

- Why do you think these specific texts were chosen for comparison? (They are all about snails)

- What are each of the text types? (Poem, narrative, article)

- The poem has an accompanying photograph instead of an illustration, the same as the article. It also has facts about snails. Does this mean it’s a non-fiction text? (No, it is considered a poem that describes)

- Can you find other similarities between any of the texts?

- Can you think of other texts that share the features of these texts?


General questions for clarification:

- Why do you think that?

- How do you know?


General questions that probe assumptions:

- What else could we assume?

- What would happen if there was more than one answer?

- Why do you agree/disagree with that answer?


Creating text:

Draw a large three-circle Venn diagram on the board. Hand out sticky notes or strips of paper with Blu Tack on the back and have students name a feature from one, two or all of the texts. They can write their answer on their paper then stick it in the correct space of the Venn diagram. Each student should be able to name a different feature. Give the class a chance to agree or disagree with where the student has placed their feature.


Assessment for/as learning:

As an exit slip, have students name a typical feature of a specific text type e.g. Articles contain facts.