Reggie Roars

story by Zoë Disher , illustrated by Stephen Axelsen

Learning Intention:

I am learning how to investigate how an author uses adjectives, adverbs, nouns and verbs in a positive or negative way so that I can present different evaluations of characters.

Success Criteria:

  • I can define the term evaluative language.
  • I can evaluate the moral values of the characters in the story.
  • I can use evidence from the text to justify my evaluations.

Essential knowledge:

More information about how to use evidence from a text to support opinions can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Argument.

More information about how the author shapes meaning and how the reader controls meaning can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Authority.

Before reading the story, explain to students that good readers make judgements and form opinions as they read. While reading the story, ask students to consider the following:

  • Which characters do they like?
  • Which characters do they dislike?
  • Which characters do they feel sorry for?

Discuss the answers to these questions after reading. Likely responses include: the students like the ticket boy, dislike the bursar and feel sorry for Reggie.

Using the definition in the Australian Curriculum Glossary, define the term evaluative language:

Positive or negative language that judges the worth of something. It includes language to express feelings and opinions, to make judgments about aspects of people such as their behaviour, and to assess quality of objects such as literary works. Evaluations can be made explicit (for example, through the use of adjectives as in: ‘she’s a lovely girl’, ‘he’s an awful man’, or ‘how wonderful!’), however, they can be left implicit (for example, ‘he dropped the ball when he was tackled’, or ‘Mary put her arm round the child while she wept’).

Explain that students will play the role of text detectives and locate evidence in the forms of adjectives, adverbs, verbs and nouns that help the audience form opinions about the worth of characters.

Provide students with a table where they list examples of explicit evaluations (through word choice) and implicit evaluations (through events in the story). Some sample answers include:

Character Explicit Evaluations Implicit Evaluations
Reggie lazy, boring, poor, hungry scared gulps food, rummages through bins, does nothing
Ticket Boy
Street animals (pigeons, rats, alley cats)
Vet highly trained hard to fool

After completing the table, return to the initial evaluations of the characters. Ask students to add a justification of their evaluation using explicit and implicit evidence from the story.

For example:

I dislike the character of the bursar. This is because he is described as a character full of worry. He only worries about money and is described as counting dollars rather than looking after Reggie well.