story by Kaye Baillie , illustrated by David Legge

Learning intention

I am learning to examine texts written from different narrative points of view and consider how this impacts the audience’s sympathies before experimenting with this in my own writing so that I can learn to make deliberate choices when deciding with point of view to tell narratives from.

Success criteria

  • I can identify the point of view a narrative is told from.
  • I can discuss how this impacts the audience’s sympathies.
  • I can experiment with appealing to the audience’s sympathies through the information I include.
  • I can compose a paragraph to add to Scaredy-Cat that presents a different point of view and that appeals to the audience’s sympathies.

Focus question

How can information be presented in different ways to impact an audience?

Essential knowledge

View the video Point of View from the English Textual Concepts.


Prior to reading Scaredy-Cat display the following sentences and discuss which point of view they represent:

  • I tried to convince mum not to take me to the game, but she wouldn’t listen. (first)
  • Mallory looked down at the floor before taking a deep breath. (third)
  • You should add the flour after you stir in the egg. (second)

Tell students that they will be looking more closely at writing in the third person. Inform students that when a story is written in the third person readers can still identify which point of view it is told from by examining which character most of the narration focuses on.

Read the first three pages of Scaredy-Cat (up to the end of page 23). Discuss the following questions:

  • Whose point of view does the story focus on? (Malcom’s)
  • Why has the author told this part of the story from Malcom’s point of view? (To provide readers with an insight into how he feels, to appeal to reader sympathies and to encourage them to see Malcom as the protagonist (hero) and Boris as the antagonist (villain)

Continue reading to the end of the story. Draw students’ attention to the fact that towards the end of Scaredy-Cat some of the story is told from Boris’ point of view (from the final paragraph on page 24 up to the end of the first paragraph on page 25). Discuss reasons why the author might have chosen to switch to Boris’ point of view in this part of the story.

Responses include:

  • to provide insight into how guilty and regretful Boris feels about how he has treated Malcom
  • to show that Boris has grown as a character which has led to him no longer wanting to bully Malcom.

Inform students that they will be experimenting with appealing to readers’ sympathies by selecting a specific point of view to present a story from. Begin by working on an exert as a class. First, discuss reasons why Boris may have stolen Malcom’s lunch money for example, that he didn’t have any lunch of his own and that he was hungry. Then, collaboratively compose a paragraph to add to the story where the narration focuses on Boris’ point of view and where it makes his character appeal to readers’ sympathies. For example:

Boris’ belly gave a loud rumble, and he rubbed it with his hand. He hadn’t eaten since dinner the previous evening and he was beginning to feel dizzy. He weighed up his options. Go without another meal or steal from someone. He’d rather skip a meal than steal. As soon as the thought entered his mind his belly gave another loud growl in protest. He had no choice. He’d have to steal. He hated acting like a bully, but he’d fall over if he didn’t eat soon.

Place students with a partner. Students may also work independently on this task. Tell students that it is now their turn to compose a brief exert to add to the story Scaredy-Cat. Inform students that they should continue on from the paragraph composed collaboratively. Tell students that their paragraph should include when Boris actually steals from Malcom. Remind them that they should write in the third person but that they should focus on Boris’ point of view by focusing on his thoughts and feelings. Tell students that they should appeal to readers’ sympathies by making Boris appear desperate for food but reluctant to steal.