Crazy Celebrations

article by John Lockyer , illustrated by Fifi Colston

Learning Intention: 

I am learning how language positions the way a reader interprets a text so that I can analyse strategies authors use to influence readers.  

Success Criteria: 

  • I can identify the narrator in a text and explain how they position a reader to interpret a text. 
  • I can explain how the structural decisions and language choices suit the purpose of a text. 


Essential Knowledge: 

More information about the position from which a text should be perceived can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Point of View. 

Prior to reading the text, complete a See, Think, Wonder protocol. (An interactive template use is available on the Digital Learning Selector’s Thinking Skills page.) Consider the following features in each step:  

  1. What do you see? Students should identify and list the textual features such as images, captions, headings, subheadings, different coloured font, italics.  
  2. What do you think about that? Without reading the text, students should start to make links between the features and synthesise elements into meaning.  
  3. What does it make you wonder? Again, without reading the text, students should generate a list of questions they have about the text. These questions can be monitored and answered during reading.  

Then read the text as a class. After reading, discuss the audience (primary school age children), purpose (to inform and entertain), form (a combination of an article and a listicle) and main idea of the article (first paragraph: while festivals might seem crazy, they are a joyful opportunity to bring people together). 

Once the text has been unpacked and students have a thorough knowledge of its content, structure and purpose, introduce the concept of analysing a text through its point of view. Explain that good readers can detect point of view in a nonfiction text and identify how the author has used language features to influence the way a reader thinks about a topic.  

First, ensure that students can differentiate between an author and narrator. Ask students to identify the narrator of this article (Fran). Then ask whether Fran is presenting facts and details, or her opinions and beliefs about the topic (opinions and beliefs). Review the “See Think Wonder” activity and discuss the class observations about Fran’s significance. Observations could include: the use of a different coloured font, the accompanying image of Fran, questions about who Fran is (you can remind the class that she is a fictional member of the Touchdown team, introduced in Issue One).  

As a class, decide why the author has commenced the article with a narrator who gives their opinions. Students should recognise that this language feature frames the whole article as a discussion about crazy festivals. The audience will immediately assume that a festival on the list is crazy, even if it is commonly celebrated, such as Holi.  

Then discuss how word-level language features also impact a reader’s position on the subject. The author’s deliberate word choice frames Fran’s point of view. Introduce/revise the concept of denotation and connotation. Ensure students understand that words can have positive, neutral or negative connotations. Words with neutral connotations are mostly simple/general terms. Students may dispute whether a word has a positive or negative connotation.   

Conduct a close reading of the introductory paragraph. Highlight the key words and place them in a connotation table. Some examples are included, below:  

Many celebrations are quite ordinary: while some might seem unusual or strange and others are just downright crazy. But it doesn’t matter what the celebration is—it always gives people a chance to have a great time together! 

Positive Neutral Negative

great time









By tracking the connotations of the words used, students should recognise that Fran’s attitude seems to shift from skeptical (through use of negative connotations) to embracing crazy celebrations. This once again positions the reader to view crazy celebrations in a positive light.  

To consolidate understanding of this concept, conduct a similar sequence of close reading activities on another article featured in The School Magazine. Suggested articles include:  

  • The Secret Seed Vault (Touchdown, Issue 2, 2019) which does not use a narrator. 
  • Delightful Dogs (Blast Off, Issue 4, 2020) which also does not use a narrator. 
  • Bee Your Best (Orbit, Issue 5, 2020) which uses a Queen Bee as the narrator.  

Assessment as/for learning: 

Using the success criteria, ask students to reflect upon their own learning by placing their own Avatar or Emoji that reflects where they place themselves on a scale of learning: 

  • I can identify the narrator in a text and explain how they position a reader to interpret a text.  
  1. I had difficulty identifying the narrator and would like another opportunity to revisit the focus of this lesson with my teacher. 
  2. I could locate the narrator in the first text but had difficulty finding it in additional texts. 
  3. I was able to complete this task independently and across all examples of text. 
  4. I am confident in this task and would be able to assist others. 
  • I can explain how the structural decisions and language choices suit the purpose of a text. 
  1. I had difficulty explaining how structure and language suited the text. I might need another opportunity to revisit the focus of this lesson with my teacher. 
  2. I can identify the structural decisions and language choices but I am unsure how this is different to other types of text. 
  3. I can identify the structural decisions and language choices and can explain how they suit the purpose of the text.  
  4. I am confident that not only can I explain how the structural decisions and language choice suit the purpose of the text, I could teach my peers. 


Once children have placed their avatar or emoji on the success criteria scale, randomly select children to explain why they have assessed themselves at this level. (NB; this type of assessment requires mature, safe and empathetic relationships to be established within the classroom to function effectively. Set high, clear expectations for acceptable forms of communication and feedback. Be clear as to why it is necessary to support each other in order to become lifelong learners)