Focusing readers on the structure of a text: Section A
<ul><li>In the following activity, we will explore a number of strategies which will: </li></ul><ul><li>make the text more accessible to students </li></ul><ul><li>develop their reading skills </li></ul><ul><li>make explicit to students the demands of reading in the context of formal school learning. </li></ul>
Newspaper article Some, the ‘hard news stories’, deal with events that cause or may cause some serious problem for the people involved or the people reading about those events. Others such as editorials and letters to the editor deal with arguments around particular issues. Then there are the long feature articles in the magazine section. In this activity we will focus on a human interest story . In any newspaper, there is a range of newspaper genres. The text we will use is a newspaper article
Newspaper article A key question here is: What is the purpose of the text? The PURPOSE of a human interest story is to make readers respond in a positive way to people who have been in some difficult or unusual situation. PURPOSE
Newspaper article Someone who has overcome some difficulty, i.e. someone who has been sick with a life threatening disease and has bravely overcome it. A group of people who have done something socially useful like collecting money for a good cause. Someone who has won an award for some brave action like rescuing someone from a fire or some other dangerous situation. Examples would include
Focusing readers on the structure of a text: Section B
Focusing readers on the structure of a text: Section C
Task: Write down 4-5 questions which you think the article will answer (who, what, when, where, how and why questions may be useful).
Your tutor will now hand out a copy of this text
Focusing readers on the structure of a text: Section D
The human interest story, like other newspaper genres, has its own SCHEMATIC STRUCTURE , which is the way the text is staged to achieve its purpose. We will now consider how this text is staged.
The function of the headline is to grab the attention of the reader This is known as the headline
The function of the strapline or overline is to elaborate briefly on the headline This is known as the strapline or overline
The function of the byline is to let the reader know who the journalist is and their area of expertise This is known as the byline
In this orientation , notice the careful recount of selected events in very brief paragraphs (only one sentence per paragraph). Note that the order of the paragraphs follows the order in which the events actually happened. Next comes the ORIENTATION : the writer must introduce the people involved and give the necessary background information so that the reader can make sense of the story .
As little girls, In time, Note the way the journalist begins two of these paragraphs with time phrases to indicate when these things happened.
This story hinges on the fact that these three former schoolmates met after many years through this website. In the paragraph introduced by another time phrase ‘ Now, more than twenty years later , we hear about the website that provides the angle on this story. The name of the website and how it helped reunite a daughter with her biological father Number of site members and location How long the website has been there New features to be added to the website The journalist then elaborates on this website with each paragraph focusing on a different aspect. This is followed by the INCIDENT stage, around which the story hinges.
In the interpretation stage , the journalist reports on what people thought, their reactions, how they felt or what they said. In these paragraphs we see how people reacted…. Here in the INTERPRETATION stage, we get to hear the reactions and views of the people involved.
And we also hear what people said through direct quotes indicated by “quotation” marks. So we hear from Vincenza Imbrogno , then from Teresa DiBartolo and then from Sabina Griffiths
headline orientation incident interpretation photo caption by-line visual organiser for a human interest story
Note that the Human Interest Story has its own schematic structure and it differs from the other newspaper genres