The First ANZACS and the First ANZAC Day

article by Kate Walker , photo courtesy of the National Library of Australia

Learning Intention:

I am learning to use skimming and scanning skills to identify key facts in a text that support readers’ prior knowledge so that I can compose texts that use this understanding to project authority.

Success Criteria:

  • I can reflect on how agreeing with readers’ prior knowledge in texts can support a text’s authority
  • I can use skimming and scanning to locate specific information
  • I can compose an article that includes new information and prior knowledge to make the information appear trustworthy.

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.

Discuss the reading strategies skimming and scanning. Ensure students understand that both these approaches involve quickly glancing over a text to identify the general meaning and location of information to allow readers to identify specific information when required.

Oral language and communication:

Read the title of the article and discuss what students know about the first ANZACs and Anzac Day. Display a KWL chart on the board and note some of students’ ideas. Provide students with their own copies of a blank KWL chart or tell them to copy one into their workbooks. Instruct students to work with a partner, discussing their ideas and recording them on the chart.

Display the following extract:

Note: the errors are deliberate

The ANZAC Day commemorations occur on 15th July each year. The day commemorates the anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli, Turkey on 25 April in 1995.


Discuss the following:

  • Is all the information accurate, to the best of your knowledge? (Some students will be itching to point out the errors at this stage, if they haven’t already)
  • How does that impact the authority of the passage? (It discredits it and makes the rest of the information seem less reliable)

Inform students that we question the authority of this extract as it does not support what we already know about a topic. Tell students that including some information that most readers will already know supports a text’s authority when providing new information.

Understanding text:

Read The First ANZACs and the First ANZAC Day or listen to the audio version. Instruct one student to share a fact they have recorded in the K (Know) column on their KWL chart. Tell students to skim and scan the article by searching only for the key words or phrases from the fact, in the article. If the student’s fact also appears in the article, instruct them to tick it on their KWL chart.

Inform students that they will be working with their partner, selecting each fact in turn that they have recorded in the K column on their charts, then using skimming or scanning to identify whether the fact also appears in the article. Tell students to tick any facts they have identified that also appear in the article.

Instruct students to share how many of the facts on students’ charts also appeared in the article. Discuss the following:

  • How trustworthy do you think the article is? (Most likely students will think it is very trustworthy)
  • How does having your prior knowledge included in an article impact the impression you have of the text's authority? (Seeing prior knowledge reflected in a text makes the rest of the information in an article appear more reliable and trustworthy)

Instruct students to add any information they learned from the article to the L column (Learned) of their KWL charts.

Creating text:

Inform students that they will be conducting research into how animals were used during World War I to include in an article. Gradually release responsibility by planning an example together first.

Display the webpage Animals in the military during World War I. Scroll to the description of the first animal on the site, the camel. Use skimming and scanning to identify key facts such as:

  • Camels were used to transport equipment and people
  • Some were used as ambulances
  • The dromedary camel can, carry up to 145kg, survive without water for up to 6 days and travel over 40km a day.

Inform students that some readers may find it unbelievable that camels were used in the war. Discuss how students might project authority in their article (by including information that supports readers’ prior knowledge). Identify well-known facts about the ANZACS and World War I that might be included in the article to help project authority, for example:

  • The dates World War I began and ended
  • Where the war was fought
  • Where the soldiers came from

Inform students that they will be composing their own articles. Place them with the same partner as before. Display the following steps as a reminder of what students need to do to complete their articles:

  • Select an animal from the webpage Animals in the military during World War I
  • Identify key information about how the animal was used during the war
  • Consider key facts that readers are likely to already know to include in your article
  • Include both facts about the animal and common elements of prior knowledge in a brief article

Assessment for/as learning:

Instruct students to consider the following exit ticket question and to record their responses in their workbooks:

  • How does our prior knowledge on a subject help recognising the authority of texts?