Supporting learning resourceNarrative textsA narrative text tells a story from a particular point of view and can be prese...
•	 establish settings and characters by using:    –	 figurative language (e.g. Her voice thundered in my ears.)    –	 spec...
Authors’ choices that relate to the tenor of a narrative text include:•	 using descriptive language, including adjectives ...
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Narrative Text Definition


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Definition of a narrative text

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Narrative Text Definition

  1. 1. Supporting learning resourceNarrative textsA narrative text tells a story from a particular point of view and can be presented using words,images and/or sounds. Its purpose is to narrate events, entertain and engage the reader inan imaginative experience. Narratives can also be used to teach, persuade or inform thereader. Narratives explore themes related to deeper human concerns, such as trust andhonesty, true love and friendship, good overcoming evil, valuing people and overcomingchallenges.While narratives are often fictional, they can be based on fact. Narrative text is often writtenas prose, but can take other forms such as a ballad or narrative song. Folktales, fairytales,traditional tales, Aboriginal Dreaming stories, myths and legends, ballads, play scripts,picture books, short stories, mysteries, science fiction stories and adventure stories are allnarrative texts.Structure of a narrativeThe narrative structure contains:• an orientation that sets the scene and introduces the characters• a complication that describes events that lead to a problem• a resolution that describes how and why the complication is resolved• a coda/reorientation that ties up loose ends (optional).Refer to the Year 5 English Activity sheet, Narrative structure, and the Supporting learningresources, How to teach narrative writing and Narrative resource list, for more information.Every narrative also has:• a plot – a sequence of events that drives the story forward from beginning to end• descriptions of settings, characters, events and things that are relevant to the overall plot.Authors can play with the narrative structure – for example, short stories often start witha dramatic element that is known as a ‘narrative hook’. This hook helps to capture theaudience’s attention. Details needed to orientate the audience to the characters are thendescribed or constructed through actions/behaviour and dialogue. Only details relevant to theplot are provided and the story moves quickly towards the complication.Language features of a narrativeIt is important when writing a narrative to develop a ‘personal voice’ or unique style. Thisinvolves making language choices that help to convey new and interesting plots, charactersand events. When writing a narrative, the author must decide how to use language to:• develop the subject matter and storyline and focus the audience’s attention (e.g. by choosing an interesting sequence of events and gradually revealing relevant details and drawing together elements of the storyline at a particular moment in an original way)1 of 3English Department of Education and TrainingEY5_playscript_SLR_narrative
  2. 2. • establish settings and characters by using: – figurative language (e.g. Her voice thundered in my ears.) – specific verbs and verb groups (e.g. He bared his teeth menacingly.) – specific nouns and noun groups (e.g. This girl, with her mischievous eyes, was trouble.) – dialogue to establish attitudes, personality and relationships (e.g. Liam sobbed, ‘I don’t care what you think! It’s none of your business.’)• explore ideas and feelings by inventing characters and situations (e.g. His palms were clammy. His voice turned into a squeak. He wondered whether he’d ever be able to talk to a girl without sounding like Mickey Mouse.)• create dialogue that enhances character development and meaning (e.g. Kate yelled, ‘I told you I wasn’t anywhere near your house!’ ‘Rubbish,’ snorted Ben.)• pace the story and/or add a twist (e.g. using short sentences to move the story along quickly or dialogue to change direction unexpectedly)• create tension and suspense by using: – specific conjunctions (e.g. Without a moment to spare, Jake leapt…) – dialogue (e.g. ‘What do you mean, he’s gone?’) – different types of clauses (e.g. exclamations, questions, commands, unfinished/ interrupted speech)• make the theme/message clear (e.g. a character may make a comment as part of the coda/reorientation that clarifies a message).Language choices: Field, tenor and modeNarrative authors make specific language choices related to field, tenor and mode. Authors’choices that relate to the field of a narrative text include:• focusing on specific participants (nouns and noun groups)• selecting participants that are human or animals with human-like characteristics• using processes that are sequenced and that explain what’s going on between participants (verbs/processes)• using adverbs and prepositional phrases to tell how, when, where and why (circumstances).Sample questions• What type of characters, places, events and things are represented?• What types of nouns and noun groups did the author choose to construct particular representations? Why?• How/why has the author used figurative language, alliteration, similes, onomatopoeia, rhyme or dialogue to develop characters and/or show relationships between characters?• What is going on between the participants?• What processes (verbs and verb groups) has the author used?• How are processes sequenced? How does this help to convey meaning?• How have adverbs and phrases been used to help tell when, why, how or with whom the events happened?2 of 3English Department of Education and TrainingEY5_playscript_SLR_narrative
  3. 3. Authors’ choices that relate to the tenor of a narrative text include:• using descriptive language, including adjectives and adverbs, to develop the story and help readers construct images and connect with the story• using dialogue to develop characters and relationships• using mainly statements to tell the story• using some exclamations to help develop the reader’s feelings towards characters• using a range of modals to indicate the degree of certainty involved in the characters’ actions.Sample questions• What mood has the author/illustrator created using words/illustrations?• How/why has the author used statements, questions, exclamations and/or commands to convey ideas? How does this affect the mood/how you view a character/event?• What impact did these choices have on the punctuation the author used? (e.g. capital letters, commas, question marks, exclamation marks, quotation marks for direct speech)• How is suspense/tension created?• How did the author want the audience to feel? Upset or sympathetic? Moved to make a moral judgment? Amused and entertained?Authors’ choices that relate to the mode of a narrative text include:• using temporal conjunctions, adverbs and tense to locate characters or action in time• using text connectives to signal how things, ideas and information are related• selecting and maintaining consistent tense Note: Narratives are usually written in past tense, but may change to future when using dialogue.• organising ideas using an orientation, complication and resolution• choosing which ideas will be in theme position to help develop ideas and information• organising ideas into paragraphs• choosing whether to write in first or third person. Note: Narratives are usually written in third person (e.g. he, she, they) but can be written in first (e.g. I, me, our).Sample questions• How are ideas organised?• How are readers orientated to the story? How is the complication developed? How is the resolution developed?• How did the author finish the story? Why?• How are the themes patterned and organised within the text?• Why did the author use active/passive voice?• How were ideas woven together to create a complete story?• Why might the author have chosen to sequence ideas in this way/for a particular audience?• How have cohesive ties been used to sequence ideas, show relationships and help construct meaning?Note: See also the Year 5 English Supporting learning resource, Authors’ language choices.3 of 3English Department of Education and TrainingEY5_playscript_SLR_narrative