In an earlier post, I talked about the ‘four roles of the reader’ and how there were some good tips available for targeting activities at each of these roles, provided by Holliday’s text ‘Strategies for Reading Success’. For my own learning process I wanted to focus on doing a bit of research into each of these.

The text user

Being a text user means that students know how to use a wide range of texts for different purposes, know the typical features of texts and how their structure is designed to achieve a certain purpose (Holliday, 2008, p. 34). Texts can cover a range of written and visual mediums, such as novels and picture books, films, television, letters, newspapers, factual books and advertisements. Providing students with a range of textual mediums helps them to understand how to recognise and use them for different purposes.

To teach for text user success, activities could include:

  • Using and discussing a wide range of texts (including print and digital) and looking at community texts like cookbooks, gardening guides, advertisements, brochures, newspaper and magazines, packaging, TV guides and timetables
  • Introduce a range of text covers and discuss whether students think it is a factual or a narrative text, and how they know
  • Collect a range of everyday texts such as menus, Tv guides, catalogues etc. Choose one text and discuss its purposes, who constructed it, where it could be found, who would use it and features like size, colour, font, pictures. Give a text to each small group and ask them to answer the same questions
  • Using wall charts that list the features of different texts
  • Take students to the library and ask them to help select texts for the next unit of work. Ask students to work in pairs to select one or more texts. Students present their texts to the class, explaining why they were chosen
  • Study illustrations and visual texts and advertisements as persuasive texts
  • Read part of a novel that has been made into a film. Read a section of the book and then show the film to the same point and discuss the two interpretations
  • Explore literary texts in detail – use diary entries to investigate how characters act, think and feel.
  • For factual texts: Introduce timelines and how to use them, work with mind maps, look at nutrition information and compile data into tables (i.e. sugar and fat content)
  • Read a range of narratives to explore their structure: orientation (main character and setting), complication, resolution, coda (an overall evaluation of events)
  • Using a known story, ask students to replace current verbs with more interesting one (i.e. from walked to raced). Discuss how this changes the sentence
  • Model how to write a historical recount. Show students how to use adjectives to make a recount more descriptive.


Holliday, M. (2008). Strategies for Reading Success. PETAA: Newtown.


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