Relationship between literary elements and verbal/visual details in picturebooks

A Literature Companion for Teachers by Lorraine McDonald released in 2013 by PETAA  has been one of the best teacher resource books providing practical  insights and ready to use ideas linked to the Australian The Red BridgeCurriculum English. Part 1 of Chapter 12 ‘Reading and viewing picture books’ provided a clear explanation and functional ideas that were easily incorporated into two lessons for Grade 3. The book The Red Bridge by Kylie Dunstan allowed for perfect exploration and fitted well into the Grade unit on China.

How the lessons were performed:

Lesson 1: Using the first page of the The Red Bridge ask the class what they can see in response to visual and verbal clues in relation to setting, characters, plot, mood/atmosphere and symbols.

Record class responses as a sample onto a worksheet. Alternatively show the key concepts – setting, characters, plot, mood/atmosphere and symbols and post the sample page into – as students provide examples pin the ideas onto the image, this can be embedded into a class blog for future reference.

The Red Bridge by Kylie Dunstan


Lesson 2: sort class into groups of three, provide a copy of one page from the book and a chart of the literacy elements and visual / verbal information. Working in small groups students discuss the selected page and complete the task. Each group reports back to class on part of their findings.

Now it is time to read the book to the class and discuss students response, what they discovered as the story unfolded.

Examples of student findings:

Sample 1Sample 2

Sample 3


NSW Syllabus Outcomes for AC – English:

EN2-8B identifies and compares different kinds of texts when reading and viewing and shows an understanding of purpose, audience and subject matter

EN2-10C thinks imaginatively, creatively and interpretively about information, ideas and texts when responding to and composing texts

ACELT1599  Discuss how language is used to describe the settings in texts, and explore how the settings shape the events and influence the mood of the narrative.

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