The Lost Treasure of Treats

story by Mina , illustrated by Amy Golbach

Learning Intention:

 I am learning to describe how context affects the construction of a text so that I can speculate how reader responses will change based on different perspectives.

Success Criteria:

  • I can identify the ways language for a text is selected for social contexts.
  • I can identify how characters in texts represent various social contexts and perspectives.
  • I can discuss how different perspectives of a text may change the reader’s response.


1st Reading:

Prior to reading, read aloud the title the text and ask students the following questions:

- What type of text do you predict this is? (Students may recognise it’s a narrative or suggest it’s an information text about a real event)

- What type of story (sub-genre) are you expecting based on the title? (Students may recognise the adventure-style title)

- Who do you think the intended audience of this story is? Why?


Read aloud the first paragraph, which is Ms Johnson’s full dialogue. Ask students where this story is set, and what clues give it away (students should recognise a school setting, with a teacher and mention of a classroom). Ask students to consider the vocabulary closely and explain what else they know about the setting (for example, the teacher greets them in multiple languages but gives instructions in English; the name Johnson is common in Western cultures; Ms is spelt without the full stop after it, indicating the text is Commonwealth English (UK/Australia/New Zealand/Canada etc) instead of US English;  Ms Johnson says “hello” rather than “good morning boys and girls” which suggest the students may be in upper primary rather than the lower years).


Ask students to consider the title and the first line of the text to predict what type of treasure hunt the class is about to go on (students may suggest a worldwide treasure hunt for lollies, or a foreign language-based treasure hunt for treats).


Read through all of page 23, stopping at “Inside was their next clue.” Ask students what details they noticed about the setting (such as the reading nook and bookshelf). Also guide them towards the mention of a blackboard. Ask what year students think this was set.


Teaching note: Here is where different classrooms will have a variety of answers. Students in schools that still use blackboards may answer the present day. Students in schools that no longer have blackboards may say the story was set in the past. Challenge each of these answers by giving the alternatives, mentioning how the students’ context alters their perspective.


Read through the rest of the story, discussing setting details as they arise, such as the school garden and library, and compare them to your school context.


2nd Reading:

Ask students:

- What is the point of view of the text? (Omniscient third person narrator)

- What does this mean? (The story is being told by a narrator who is not in the narrative and can follow the thoughts and actions of all characters, rather than being limited to a single point of view)

- Why do you think the author chose to tell the story from this point of view? (Answers will vary, but students may note that because this adventure follows the whole class, the narrative excitement is built by jumping from student to student as they make discoveries)


Have students choose the character they most identify with in the story and explain their reasons. Book-loving students may relate to Mia because she was reading before the announcement. Students who are comedy-inclined might choose Jim because he was picking his nose. Ask students to find instances that their chosen character is mentioned and note any dialogue and actions. Students discuss with a partner (someone who has selected a different character) what they relate to about their chosen character.

For example, if a student chooses Mia, they might mention:

- Mia looks up from her latest detective book (the word “latest” implies she reads a lot of detective novels, and I love detective novels)

- Mia knows the answer to the first riddle is Big Ben (I also knew that answer)

- Mia finds a message in the arts and crafts section of the classroom (I’m good at finding things)

- Mia knew about the northern lights (I knew about the northern lights but didn’t know they were in the Arctic Circle)

- Mia rolls down her cardigan sleeves (I sometimes wear cardigans)

- Mia takes initiative and scans the library, looking through books for the next clue (I would also do that)

- Mia found the final, hardest clue (I think I would be able to find it, too)

- Mia works out the prize is in the classroom (I could do this too)

- Mia eats chocolate at the end (I love chocolate)


Give each partner time to discuss their character before asking:

- Why do you think the author has chosen to portray different types of people in this narrative? (Students may realise that varying personalities in a story allow for different readers to relate to different characters)


Tell students to consider their social context and own perspectives before asking:

- Why do you think this story appears in The School Magazine? (Students might recognise that while their situation is not exactly the same as the narrative, the various characters, the recognisable setting and the fun of a treasure hunt makes them the right audience for this text)


3rd Reading:

Remind students about their discussion on when the story was set. Now ask students to consider when and where the story was written. Guide students to the author, whose name is simply given as “Mina” with no other context. Ask:

- Is this a story from several hundred years ago?

- Is this a story written in the past year?

- Is this a story written ten years ago?

- Do you think this author is Australian?

Follow up these questions with:

- How do you know?

- What clues in the text tell you this?

- What other assumptions can you make?


Give students time to examine the text and find proof of the time and place it was written. This could be things like:

- Mention of music and lights suggest a modern setting with electricity

- Both boys and girls are at school and given equal speaking roles, suggesting it is not set in the past

- Ravi visited his grandparents in Egypt, so this story is definitely not set there

- The story wouldn’t be set anywhere that was a place in the treasure hunt or any of the treats’ countries of origin, because the hunt was a “travel” theme

- The word “jumper” is used, rather than “sweater” like in the US

- British (or Australian) English is used e.g. “colour” instead of “color”


Teaching note: While there is no hard evidence (such as mentions of specific technology) in the text to suggest the exact time period this was written, students can make their own assumptions based on the presence of the blackboard.




Explain to students that while narrative and non-fiction texts have different structures, paragraph starters in narratives can signal where the text is going to go, just as topic sentences do in information texts. Ask students to find good examples of paragraph starters in the narrative. This can be either clauses or phrases. Use the following as an example.


Together, they set off on their journey. (page 23)


This is a good example because the paragraph cohesively follows through, explaining how the students metaphorically start their journey by exploring the classroom, finishing with Jodie finding the next clue.


Some other good examples of starter clauses/phrases in the text:

Arlo knew the answer straightaway. (p 24)

In the school garden, (p 24)

To brave the cold temperatures of the left corner of the school library, (p 25)

Mia scanned the room, (p 26)

This was the hardest clue to find. (p 26)

When they returned to their classroom, (p 27)

The best part was behind Ms Johnson, though, the grand prize! (p 27)


Discuss answers as a class and how the paragraphs follow cohesively.