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English Language Arts

Text Types, Structures and Features

Narrative and Literary Text Types

Narrative texts are one of the oldest forms for recording and making sense of human experience, as well as articulating the world of the imagination.

The complexity of a narrative or literary text is achieved through the way its structures and features interact to create meaning(s), concepts, the passage of time and characters. For this reason, the progression that students demonstrate in working with knowledge about how narrative-literary texts are constructed is directly related to the increasing sophistication of concepts, themes and social knowledge in the texts that they listen to, interpret, write and produce.

Self-Expressive Text Types
Information-Based Text Types

Student constructs knowledge with teacher guidance.

Student applies knowledge by the end of the school year.


Student reinvests knowledge.

  1. Narrative and Literary Texts
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  1. Required Text Types
    1. Speaking
      The student produces own stories, as well as dramatizations of others’ stories, through:
      1. Role-play involving character from own stories, from literature and from nonfiction
      1. Storytelling
    1. Reading and Listening (written and media texts)
      1. Children’s literature
        • Nursery rhymes
        • Illustrated wordless and picture books written for younger children
        • Illustrated wordless and picture books written for older children with more sophisticated concepts, language, issues, characterization, etc.
        • Poetry
        • Classic and modern fairy tales
        • Early/beginning chapter books
      1. Young adult literature
        • Age appropriate popular, contemporary fiction (e.g. novels, poetry, graphic novels)
      1. Media texts
        • Comic strips
        • Stories in children’s magazines, illustrated picture books, online talking books (i.e. that combine spoken word and print)
        • Age appropriate films, video clips, animation
      1. Nonfiction (written and media)
        • Biographical picture books of increasing sophistication
        • Articles in children’s magazines or online Web page (e.g. about a sport star, civil rights activist)
        • Memoir in a variety of text types
    1. Writing and Media Production
      1. Stories based on ideas, experiences and events
      1. Illustrated narrative in comic strip using own drawings, images or photos
      1. Illustrated picture books using drawings and/or images and/or photos
      1. Photo stories (e.g. sequencing photos and/or images to create a scene from a story)
  1. Structures and Features
    The student understands the purpose of the following structures and features and uses this knowledge to construct meaning when reading, listening to and producing spoken and written texts.
    1. Spoken and Written Texts
      1. Plot structures and features
        • Predictable story patterns
        • Sequence of events
        • Incidents (e.g. actions that take place in the story usually related to the main conflict)
        • Foreshadowing, i.e. the use of hints or clues to suggest what will happen later in the story (Reading only)
        • Flashback (Reading only)
        • Episodes, e.g. typically the subject of a chapter (Reading only)
        • Conflict, i.e. central problem around which a story is typically organized. Examples would include man against man, man against nature, issues involving what is right or wrong, etc.
        • Resolution of conflict
        • Theme, i.e. the central or underlying meaning or dominant idea(s) that structures a narrative. It should be noted, however, that theme is not a textual structure that every reader interprets in exactly the same way.
      1. Characterization
        • Main character in a story
        • Stock and/or flat characters, i.e. characters with only one or two qualities or traits. Stereotypes, such as the mean stepmother, are examples of flat characters.
        • Archetypes, e.g. the hero/heroine archetype, the villain, forces of good and evil such as superheroes (Reading only)
      1. Setting
        • The physical landscape and social context in which the action of story occurs, i.e. its time and place
        • Descriptive details that construct the world of the story (e.g. the forest in Max’s room allows the reader to move into the story)
      1. Other features of narrative
        • Literary conventions (e.g. "Once upon a time" in a fairy tale, moral in a fable)
        • Humor, suspense, repetition
        • Dialogue, e.g. to reveal character
        • Point of view, i.e. narrative voice in first or third person
        • Attitude of author to the material, i.e. writer’s position (Reading only)
    1. Media texts
      All of the structures and features of written narrative (above) also apply to narratives in the media. In addition, the student understands the purpose of the following structures and features and uses this knowledge to construct meaning when viewing and producing media texts.
      1. Plot structure and features
        • Use of images (photos or drawings) to extend the story and to provide story details
        • Use of music and/or sound to create suspense, mood, humor, conflict, etc. (Viewing only)
        • Use of colour to suggest emotion, to create mood, etc.
        • Use of different scenes or episodes to move the story forward (Viewing only)
      1. Characterization
        • Surface appearance of a character (e.g. clothing, physical attributes)
        • Use of details to convey an imaginary character (e.g. wings, exaggerated or invented facial features)
        • Use of explanation marks and speech bubbles to show thought and dialogue, e.g. in comic books or some animation films
        • Use of body language and gesture to convey character traits, including emotions (Viewing only)
        • Use of music and/or sound to signal or stress some aspect of character, e.g. music to signal the reappearance of a character such as Tinkerbell or Captain Hook in Peter Pan (Viewing only)
        • Use of camera angle (e.g. use of low angle to make someone look stronger or like a bully, high angle to make someone look weaker or vulnerable)
        • Stereotypes of individuals and groups (e.g. perceptions about gender in comics and picture books) (Viewing only)
      1. Setting
        • Repetition of symbols, or motifs, to create mood, suspense, sense of continuity (e.g. scenes of the ocean in a story that takes place in Cape Breton) (Viewing only)
        • Use of light and dark (e.g. to create a sense of foreboding, to change time frame) (Viewing only)
        • Clothing and other details that create a sense of time and location

Self-Expressive Text Types
Information-Based Text Types

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