poem by Jenny Blackford , illustrated by Anna Bron

Learning intention:

I am learning to analyse strategies authors use so I can identify how the author wants to position the reader.


Success criteria:

  • I can identify how the author wants to position the reader
  • I can analyse a strategy the author uses to show their position
  • I can teach others how this strategy positions the reader


Read the poem out loud without showing the illustration, then ask students:

- What is the poem is about? (Cats)

- How does the author feel about cats? (Positive)

- How do you know? (Various answers may be included here – students may pick up on the use of words such as elegant, powerful and dignified)


Explain that students will be using a cooperative Jigsaw approach to analyse strategies the author used. Assign the class to home groups consisting of four students. Give each student in the group a different strategy from the list below. (Note that the strategies become increasingly more complex as the list goes on, to allow for varying student capabilities.)


  1. Strategy: Use of the words elegant, powerful, dignified, so (adverb), pride, inscrutable. Task: Define these words and explain how they help position the reader to positively view cats.


  1. Strategy: Humour. Task: Find places in the poem where the poet has used humour and explain how this helps position the reader to positively view cats.


  1. Strategy: Illustration. Task: Explain how the illustrator has assisted the poet with their position to positively represent cats. Look at the colour, placement, subject position and other visual techniques to assist with your answer. (Hint: Students can use a webpage such as Visual Techniques on the Visual Literacy page to help.)


  1. Strategy: Rhyme. Task: Find the rhyming scheme and explain what mood it creates to help position the reader to positively view cats. (Hint: Matrix Education has a page defining rhyme and a page on How to Analyse Rhyme. On the latter, students should look for the subheadings What is Rhyme?, Types of Rhyme, How Does Rhyme Work? and steps 1, 3 and 4 under How to Analyse Rhyme – Step by Step Process.)


Once students have received their assignments, they then split into their expert groups. This means everyone with the same strategy meets up to work together to find the answers. Once expert groups have completed their task and students can thoroughly explain their answers, everyone returns to their home groups. Here, students take turns presenting their findings to the others, teaching them what they’ve learnt.


Once complete, have students share with the class anything they found particularly interesting during their research.