Reading and Exploring Texts Part 3: Examining Point of View and Voice in Texts

This series of posts goes through the Key Knowledge and Skills for the new Area of Study 1: Reading and Exploring Texts for VCE English and EAL. Each post has a brief discussion of the Key Knowledge and Skills covered, some suggestions for resources, and five lesson activities. Even if you’re not an English teacher in Victoria, I hope you find the suggestions for activities and resources useful.

Point of View and Voice

Alongside Character, Setting, and Plot, exploring Point of View and Voice features in the Key Skills of Reading and Exploring Texts. These are new additions to the study design, demonstrating the VCAA’s desire to help students move beyond the simple recount and description sometimes suggested by the first three elements.

Point of view refers to the perspective the text is recounted from, whereas “voice” reflects the overall style of the author. Students will need to be able to explore and ultimately analyse how point of view and voice impact on the reading of the text. To do this, they will need a variety of reading strategies including inferring, visualising, and questioning.

There are many strategies that teachers can use to help students analyse the point of view and voice in a text. Some of these strategies include:

  1. Identifying the narrator: Have students identify the narrator of the text and consider their perspective and biases. Encourage them to consider how the narrator’s point of view may influence the events and interpretations of the story.
  2. Examining the language and tone: Have students pay attention to the language and tone used in the text and consider how it contributes to the overall voice of the story. Encourage them to think about how the language and tone may vary depending on the narrator and their perspective.
  3. Analysing the relationships between characters: Encourage students to consider the relationships between the characters in the text and how they may be influenced by the narrator’s point of view. For example, if the narrator is a character in the story, how might their perspective affect the way they perceive and describe the other characters?

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For resources and PL on the new study design, visit the VCE Hub

Activities

Here are five suggestions for lesson activities which can target this Key Knowledge and Skill:

  • Point of View Match-Up: Provide students with a list of different points of view (e.g. first-person, second-person, third-person limited, third-person omniscient) and have them match each point of view to a passage from the set text. Have them explain their reasoning for each match.
  • Voice Analysis: Have students choose a passage from the set text and analyse the voice of the narrator or speaker. Have them consider factors such as tone, diction, and point of view to understand the perspective and biases of the narrator.
  • Point of View Debate: Divide the class into small groups and have each group choose a different point of view to defend in a debate. Have them use evidence from the set text to support their arguments.
  • Multiple Points of View: If the set text features multiple points of view, have students choose one character’s perspective and rewrite a scene from the text from that character’s point of view. Have them share their rewritten scenes with the class and discuss the impact of the different points of view on the interpretation of the scene.
  • Point of View Role-Play: Divide the class into small groups and have each group choose a different scene from the set text. Have them act out the scene from a different point of view than the one presented in the text. Have the groups share their scenes with the class and discuss the impact of the different points of view on the interpretation of the scene.

Have a question about this post, or anything else related to Reading, Writing, or Digital? Get in touch below:

AI Disclaimer: I used ChatGPT to construct parts of this series. I’ll be making a full post later outlining exactly what prompts I used and going through the entire process.

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