Category Archives: Literacy

Persuasive Texts – NAPLAN

The following list is provided with great thanks to all the teachers in the Oz Teachers Network who contributed  …. and to Barbara for compiling it from all the emails! 🙂  Thanks again all involved!


  • Persuade the principal that a dragon/dinosaur that has taken up  residence in the playground should stay.
  • Zoos are good/bad for the preservation of animal species
  • Persuade us that recess should be longer
  • Benefits of homework
  • How important is the education?
  • We must protect the ozone layer
  • Why should we recycle?
  • 200+ Persuasive Speech Ideas


  • Robert N. Munsch, Stephanie’s Ponytail
  • Margie Palatini, The Perfect Pet         
  • Joan W. Blos, Old Henry      
  • Steven Kellogg, Can I Keep Him?

  • Shari Graydon, Made You Look: How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know
  • Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express       
  • Jon Scieszka, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs         
  • Beverly Cleary, Emily’s Runaway Imagination
  • Gretchen Bernabei, Why We Must Run With Scissors 
  • Karen Kaufman Orloff, I Wanna Iguana  
  • E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web         
  • Patricia Polacco, The Bee Tree    
  • Dr Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham
  • Judith Viorst, Earrings!
  • Mark Teague, Dear Mrs. LaRue : letters from obedience school         
  • Phillip M. Hoose, Hey little ant
  • Lane Smith, It’s a book (subtle persuasion?)
  • Dr Alvin Granowsky, set of books called ‘Another Point of View‘ (1996) based on folk tales like Henny Penny and the Three Billy Goats Gruff – original stories retold plus a version offering a different point of view.
  • Anthony Browne, Zoo – text tells one story but pictures differ
  • Anthony Browne, Voices in the Park – story told from 4 points of view
  • Wordless picture books such as Popov ‘Why‘ – shows escalation in confrontation, students can put own words to each of protagonists point of  view
  • Nick Bland, ‘The Wrong Book
  • Marcia Vaughan, ‘Wombat Stew
  • Lauren Child, ‘I will never, ever eat a tomato
  • Mo Willems, Don’t let pigeon stay up late, Don’t let pigeon drive the bus, Pigeon wants a puppy
  • Bronwyn Bancroft, ‘Why I love Australia‘- children provide their own opinions based on discussing Bancroft’s evocative text and illustrations
  • Doreen Cronin, Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. Cows find an old typewriter in the barn and proceed to write letters to Farmer Brown, listing various demands. Activities –
  • Doreen Cronin, Giggle, Giggle, Quack. Very funny – about negotiation and power.
  • Graeme Base – Uno’s Garden – activities at
  • Kim Michelle Toft – The world that we want – activities at



  • Can I change your mind? : the craft and art of persuasive writing Lindsay Camp Camp, Lindsay 2007 We all need the ability to argue a case effectively in writing. Drawing on his long experience as a leading copywriter, Lindsay Camp shows how it’s done-whether the end product is a glossy magazine ad, a new business proposal, a page for the company website, or just a hasty e-mail to your boss. persuasive writing, persuasive text.
  • There is a chapter in All You Need to Teach Information Literacy Book 3 (Braxton, 2009) called The Art of Persuasion that includes blackline masters for sorting ideas.  Also ‘Try Me, Buy Me’ in Book 2 (focuses on advertising).  

Mr Thorne does Phonics

Mr Thorne Does Phonics is a comprehensive collection of over 200 literacy videos to support children, parents, teachers and anyone who is learning to read. 



I first came across the ‘Mr Thorne’ videos on YouTube, and experienced the same issues using the videos at school as most other educational institutions will no doubt have experienced too – slow load times, or even blocked altogether by the school filtering program!  I was excited to see on Twitter yesterday that Mr Thorne has been listening, and has moved his videos to a new, school friendly, site.

The Mr Thorne Does Phonics site is very simply, yet colourfully, designed.  It is easy to navigate, and all videos are clearly marked.

Overall, a great site that has some short, but useful, videos to include in your classroom. 

Tumblebooks – E-Books for E-Kids!

Whilst wandering around the internet collecting resources for my new unit, I ‘tumbled’ (excuse the pun!) across this fabulous resource – Tumblebooks.

TumbleBook Library is an online collection of TumbleBooks – animated, talking picture books which teach kids the joy of reading in a format they’ll love. TumbleBooks are created by adding animation, sound, music and narration to existing picture books in order to produce an electronic picture book which you can read, or have read to you.

The Tumblebooks interface is very clear and easy to use, with a fantastic navigation system that students young and old will be able to use. 

A great site to use in the classroom … and especially on the interactive whiteboards! 🙂

Psssssttt …. click here to log in to Tumble Books! 😉


Writing Fun – Genre Study

Produced by Australian primary teacher, Jenny Eather, Writing Fun provides instructions, examples, tips, and text organisers to help students write various kinds of genres.

‘Writing Fun explains the types of text commonly written in schools with student examples
showing text structures, grammatical features and publishing ideas.’


Genres covered include reports, procedures, explanations, expositions (persuasion, point of view), discussions, narratives, recounts, descriptions, responses (inc. reviews) , poetry, letters, invitations, news items and emails.

Each genre includes at least six examples that can viewed with the organiser ‘off’ or ‘on’ allowing students to see how each section is developed.  Teachers can print templates for students to work on, or students are able to ‘write online’ directly onto a template – and then print their work.  Fantastic!

Overall, the site is simple, well designed and a valuable tool to add to your ‘teachers ICT toolkit’! 🙂

Onset & rime – word wheels resource

Word Wheels is a quick and easy to use interactive resource that helps teach the concept of onset and rime. It is from the ever popular CrickWeb site, and would be great for use on an interactive whiteboard.

If you get a chance, head to CrickWeb and have a look at some of the other fantastic resources available as well.

MeeGenius! – Personalised Online Storybooks

MeeGenius! is founded on the philosophy that children learn the most when they love what they are doing.

As parents, the co-founders of MeeGenius! wanted to create an inviting site that is easily accessible by parents and children and at the same time, allow the parents to take comfort in knowing their children are learning important skills as they enjoy the content.

All books come with audio playback and word highlighting, and can be personalized just the way you like them. Just answer a few questions, and presto, the book is rewritten for you. So read and personalise your favorite books!


Topmarks – Educational Search Engine

If you’re anything like me, you spend forever searching the internet for that ‘perfect’ resource to help illustrate your point on a topic, or to engage a student whilst teaching a new skill.  Hours tick by, and you end up ‘exploring’ a variety of sites you may use ‘one day’ …. but not really what you were looking for. 🙂  Wouldn’t it be great if there was one location you could go that has already screened the educational sites, and weeded out the less than useful resources?  Well …. I found just such a site called Top Marks.

Topmarks is one of the largest independent educational websites in the UK.  It was established in 1998 with the aim of making it easy to find the very best free educational resources whilst providing a safe environment for children to use the world wide web effectively for learning.

According to the site, all of the content on Topmarks is carefully reviewed by qualified teachers and regularly re-checked because of the changing nature of the web.

The site has resources for just about every learning area you could want, interactive whiteboard resources and a great parent section.

We show how you can help your child with learning to read, a vital skill for accessing knowledge and information in the modern world. Our Learning Numbers article has advice on how you can help pre-school children learn and understand numbers.

What a great inclusion to the site!  Helping guide parents to enhance their child’s learning at home.  The parent section includes:

  • Cook to Learn
  • Sand & Water Play
  • Learning Numbers
  • Learning Words
  • Homework Help
  • Learning to Read
  • Toys and Games

Take the time to have a look around.  I am sure you’ll be excited by what you can find …. and how quickly you were able to find it!!! (I know I was 😉 )

Facebook in the Classroom – sort of!

With students interacting on social networking sites such as Facebook as part of their daily routine, it seems a logical step that teachers harness the power of these sites to help reluctant writers connect to genre writing in an innovative way.   Whilst visiting the ‘twittersphere’, I came across a fantastic tweet that I just had to share with you all 🙂   So simple, yet so effective!

As Suzanne Whitlow, of ‘Suzanne’s Blog‘ outlines:

Frank and Brad from my ITRT team are so clever.  While studying Generals from the Civil War, they decided that each General should have a facebook-like profile.  Now you know that the students can seriously relate to this!!!  Who would General Sherman’s friends be on a social network?  How clever.  Here is a screenshot of a blank project:  Click here for template in Pages. I also exported from Pages into Word for my PC PLN members!!! Click here for template in Word 

You could use this for any person you are studying, and if you think creatively, you could even write a profile for famous documents, elements from the periodic table, or a book character.  WOW!

What a great idea for use in the classroom full of supposed ‘digital natives’!  Hope you can find a way to use it in your classroom too.

Information provided here with permission from Suzanne 🙂

Become a moviemaker with Zimmer Twins

The Zimmer Twins is a fun way to incorporate technology into the classroom. Watch your students expand their vocabulary, practice proper writing habits, and become junior movie producers all at the same time!   The Zimmer Twins website is a fun and positive environment where kids can safely explore and exercise their creative muscles.

On the Zimmer Twins website, your students can:

  • Watch a starter (a short animation that ends with a cliff-hanger).
  • Create their own ending to the story by writing dialog for the characters and putting scenes together.
  • Save their work on the website for other kids to watch, rate and comment on.
  • Watch and rate movies made by other kids.

My husband has been using the Zimmer Twins in his classroom this semester, and has been amazed at just how much the students enjoy the site.  They use it on the IWB as a whole class and also as an independent computer activity during literacy rotations.  After one week of using it in the classroom, students began creating movies in their own time, and bringing them in to show the class. 

The only drawbacks (and they’re not really big ones) are that the films are limited in length and can only be saved to an online account. The good news is that the online account is free!  What a great, motivating site!  Two thumbs up!!

Starfall – Learn to read with phonics

Starfall opened in September of 2002 as a free public service to motivate children to read with phonics. Their systematic phonics approach, in conjunction with phonemic awareness practice is perfect for preschool, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, special education, homeschool, and English language development (ELD, ELL, ESL). Starfall is an educational alternative to other entertainment choices for children.

Starfall’s reading lessons are divided into four sections: ABC’s, Learn to Read, It’s Fun to Read and I’m Reading.

The ABC’s introduce students to letter sounds. Learn to Read teaches students how letters are combined to create words. It’s Fun to Read uses learning activities to introduce simple sentences. Finally, I’m Reading uses simple plays and folk stories to increase student’s reading fluency.

Starfall would be a great site to use up on an interactive whiteboard.  With its bright colourful interface, most students should be able to navigate the site with ease, and take control of their own learning.  Enjoy!