Sylphie's Squizzes: The Zoo on You!

article by Zoë Disher , photo by Alamy

Learning Intention:

I am learning to explain the features of writing authoritative texts so that I can present ideas in a trustworthy manner.

Success Criteria:

  • I can analyse a text to identify the strategies that authors use to project authority.
  • I can distinguish between sources that project greater and lesser authority.
  • I can compose a text that is written with authority.


Essential knowledge:

View the video Authority from the English Textual Concepts. Discuss the content of the video and ensure students understand that authority refers to how trustworthy a text is. Discuss how a text might project authority. For example:

  • If they are written by an expert
  • Whether they are written in the appropriate style
  • If they are published by a reputable source

Discuss the fact that authority can also be over a text. For example, by considering who controls the message, such as editors and any limitations of publishing such as the word limit. Finally, ensure students note that readers also have authority over texts in the way they use their personal ideas and experiences to interpret a text.


Oral language and communication:

Remind students that where a text is published impacts its authority. Display the following list of places texts may be published:

  • An online blog published by a popular YouTuber
  • The Department of Education’s website
  • The website of a well-known charity
  • A leaflet you pick up at a garage sale
  • A podcast created by a school friend

Discuss which texts have greater and less authority based on where they are published.

Those with a digital subscription can complete the interactive activity now.


Understanding text:

Read Sylphie’s Squizzes: The Zoo on You! or listen to the audio file if you have a digital subscription. Discuss the purpose of the text (to inform). Tell students that they will be going on an authority hunt, noting anything in the article that provides authority. Use a Concept Map to record ideas. Note the name of the article in the middle and record anything that provides authority in the sections around it.

  • Factual information
  • Photos
  • Technical language
  • Key details such as the size that can be checked
  • Published in a reputable source


Use a different colour to add any other ideas for projecting authority that weren’t used in this article, such as quoting experts and including statistics.


Creating text:


Inform students that they will be creating a brief article that could feature in a reputable source such as The School Magazine, on a topic of interest to them. Refer back to the concept map students created earlier to remind them of strategies for projecting authority. Inform students that they should strive to include as many of these elements as possible and to add any additional ideas if relevant.


Discuss potential topics for students to write their articles on, such as:

  • Sports students participate in
  • Games students like to play
  • Hobbies or special interest topics
  • Family members of interesting details of their family’s past

Allow time for students to compose their articles. Students may work independently or with a partner for this task.


Assessment for/as learning:

Instruct students to swap articles with each other. Refer to the concept map. Instruct students to read the articles and note how many of the strategies for projecting authority their peers have included in the articles.

Those with a digital subscription can refer students to the interactive task on authority to use for assessment.

Display the following exit ticket question and instruct students to respond to it:

  • What are some of the strategies authors may use that enable them to write with authority?