Animal Super Mums

article by Cheryl Bullow , photo 'Elephant and her Baby' by Mara 1 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Learning intention

I am learning to understand how texts differ in style depending on the approach to the topic and the intended audience so that I can adapt the texts I write to best suit my readers.

Success criteria

  • I can compare two texts and identify differences in style.
  • I can consider who the intended audience is for texts.
  • I can identify facts and opinions in a text.
  • I can compose my own text on a similar topic.
  • I can consider the intended audience and how this influences the style I adopt in the text I compose.


Essential knowledge

View the English Textual Concepts video on Style. Also view the video on Genre from the English Textual Concepts.


Prior to reading Animal Super Mums display the following paragraph and read it with the students:

Note: students may find vocabulary in this paragraph challenging to comprehend. There is no need to explain the vocabulary for now. The goal is to emphasise the difference in style between this paragraph and that used in the article Animal Super Mums.

Both the African elephant (Loxodonta Africana), who inhabit the sub-Saharan regions of Africa, and the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), who reside in the southern, eastern and southeastern parts of Asia, are raised to be mothers from a young age. They care for the young of other elephants in their herd as well as caring for their own young. A young elephant will stay close to its mother. If necessary, female elephants will risk their own lives to protect their young. Young elephants and their mothers engage in play as a form of bonding and communication.

Before discussing the paragraph read the first section of Animal Super Mums, the introduction and the information about elephants under the subheading Mighty mothers. Discuss the following:

  • How does the style of each of the texts about elephants differ? (The first text is more formal; Animal Super Mums is more conversational)
  • Who might be the intended audience for each text? (The audience for the first text might be older children or adults, the audience for Animal Super Mums is Year 4 students)
  • Which text is easier to understand? (Animal Super Mums)
  • Which text is most suitable to your age group? (Animal Super Mums)

Emphasise that authors will adopt different styles depending on who the intended audience is. Read the remainder of Animal Super Mums with the students. Discuss the genre, ensuring students understand the term genre relates to what form a text is (information report). Emphasise that information reports include facts. Ensure students understand the difference between facts (provable, backed up by evidence) and opinions (peoples’ thoughts and feelings about a topic). Discuss how the facts and opinions have been included in Animal Super Mums, emphasising that this differs from the paragraph displayed on the board which mostly only features facts. Focus on examples from Animal Super Mums, such as:

It’s impossible to look at a baby orangutan and not be amazed at how human-like it is. Not to mention how cute it is! (opinion)

So, it’s not surprising that researchers say the bond between an orangutan mother and her infant is the most intense of any animal. (fact)

Inform students that they will be creating their own entry to add to the article about a special person in their lives. Tell students that their audience will be their peers. Discuss the style best suited to this audience. Ensure students conclude that they should adopt the same style as featured in Animal Super Mums, making their writing conversational and including opinions and facts.

Discuss important people in students’ lives. Display the following questions and note some of the students’ responses on the board for them to refer to later:

  • What do they do to help you? (They make my breakfast, they read me a story before bed)
  • How do they show they care? (They hug me and tell me that they love me)
  • What tasks do they undertake to support you? (They help me with my homework, they wash my clothes, they prepare food for me)

Using students’ responses collaboratively compose a brief extract to add to the article. Remind students to use a conversational style and to include both facts and opinions, for example:

My dad is the best. He rides with me to school every day and we do really fun things together at weekends like swimming and playing basketball. His jokes are hilarious, most of the time. Sometimes, only he laughs at his jokes. He makes the most delicious pancakes I’ve ever tasted. He says it’s because he adds blueberries. Yum! My dad works during the day on the farm while I am at school. He has worked in this job for over ten years. He collects me from school once he’s finished his work for the day.

Instruct students to discuss their ideas with a partner before composing their own extract to add to the article, Animal Super Mums.