Genre Conventions For Atar Students

Genre Conventions For Atar Students

What are genre conventions?

All of the books and films you study have different elements, themes and some unique features. Each genre has a set of elements that will distinguish them from other genres. See our guide below:

Genres   Elements       
Adventure:A heroic protagonistA journey or questUnusual locationsSense of danger An injustice
Bildungsroman:A struggle for identityA societal conflictA loss of innocenceA journeyMaturity
Comedy:SubstanceExpression and communicationThe originality of humourTiming and rhythmIntelligent writingSetting
Crime:ConflictTime(Unfolding the text within a tight time frame)Foreshadowing, atmosphere
and mood
High stakesContract with the reader.Strong charactersOther limitsRed herrings

Government controlEnvironmental
Technological controlSurvivalLoss of individualism.The totalitarian stateThe use of propaganda
Fantasy:A magic systemA well-developed settingA cast of complex charactersA central conflictA power structure/system
of government
Horror:FearSurpriseSuspenseMysterySpoilersCreepy, crawly things.Scary places
Magical Realism:Fantastical elementsReal-world settingAuthorial reticencePlenitudeHybridityMetafictionHeightened awareness
of mystery
Political critique
Realist Literature:Realistic characters and settingPlausible plotReal dialects of the areaCharacter development important.Importance in depicting
social class
Comprehensive detail
about everyday occurrences
Science Fiction:Time travelTeleportationMind control, telepathy,
and telekinesis
Extraterrestrial lifeformsSpace travelInterplanetaryParallel universes
Western:CowboysSheriffsNative AmericansReferences to the
American Civil War
Bad guys like criminals,
outlaws, or bandits
Descriptions of wilderness
and vast landscapes

The Transition From Year 6 to Year 7

The Transition From Year 6 to Year 7

Waking up on the first day of year seven can be a very daunting experience. There are many different challenges the young people face in high school nowadays including but not limited to cyber bullying, issues with resilience, anxiety and depression and myriad others.

Many of your child’s subjects will change and adapt from a primary school curriculum to high school curriculum. The English curriculum in the transition from primary school to high school changes, however many of those foundational skills will still be tested. Students must be able to use grammar, punctuation, spelling, diction, syntax and many of the other language devices that make our writing soar.

When you are looking at helping your child transition from Year 6 to Year seven and studying English there are a few things that you need to know.

1. Find Your Reading Mojo

There is nothing worse than coming to school on the first day of year seven and not knowing what is going on. Usually your school will give you your booklist in advance of going into year seven and all of the required reading will be on that booklist. This gives your child a chance to get a head start on any of the reading that they will need to do during the year. If not, there are plenty of other options available to students but the most important thing is that they start reading as soon as possible.

Reading is the one skill that you can’t just pick up in your 11 and be really, really good at it. Many of my students wish that they had started reading earlier and many of my parents just don’t know how to make their child read. The biggest thing about choosing a book in the transition from year 6 to 7 is helping your child choose coming-of-age stories to help them navigate this difficult period in their lives. 

2. Learn Your Grammar and Punctuation

There is nothing that a high school teacher dislikes more and students who do not have the basic grasp of English grammar and punctuation. Over the term break, have your child do some simple activities on commas, possessive, apostrophes, contractions, plurals and capital letters and how to structure a good sentence.

There are many sites online that give simple activities for year six year seven level that should be suited to your child. 

3. Get Out There and Have Some Experiences

Having options and activities outside of school work actually helps your child to learn to plan their day and find other experiences to talk about when they are doing. English requires a lot of creative writing in year 7 to year 12 and when they don’t have fulfilling experiences outside of the classroom it can become difficult to imagine what they should write about in their stories in their feature articles and memoirs.

One thing you can do is make an effort to sit down with your family every Friday night and watch a film together and discuss the plot and ask them some simple questions after watching the film to encourage your child to think about how films are structured and how narratives are structured this will help come up with fantastic ideas when they are then in their classroom and having to think about a story.

Some other things you can do is send them to drama lessons, coding camp or other classes during the holidays that will give them fresh experiences of the world and allow them to flex their creativity. Finally, a free way to do this is to get out and experience nature – go down to the beach and describe what you say, go into the hills and describe all the nature that’s around you. There are things all around us in our lives and we have to help children open their eyes to the different experiences.

What are Literary Devices and Language Features?

What Are Literary Devices And Language Features?

Language features are the specific language techniques that an author includes to create meaning. Literary elements are aspects of a text that the reader interprets, for example, themes and characterisation. Literary elements and language features both come under the umbrella of literary devices, along with the conventions of other genres (for example, dramatic or poetic conventions). 

Literary elements and language features are closely linked, and it is essential that you are able to discuss how they work together to form complex analysis. A clear example of this is characterisation. Characterisation is how a particular character is constructed and represented – this is a literary element. However this construction is formed through language features, such as the selection of particular words (diction).


Language Features/Literary Device Description
OxymoronTwo words used together that have, or seem to have, opposite meanings. Example: pretty awful.
RepetitionThe act of doing or saying something again.
AlliterationThe repetition of usually initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words or syllables. Example: “Round the rugged rocks the ragged rascal ran” uses alliteration.
SimileAn expression comparing one thing with another, always including the words “as” or “like”. Example: The lines “She walks in beauty, like the night…” from Byron’s poem contain a simile.
MetaphorAn expression, often found in literature, that describes a person or object by referring to something that is considered to have similar characteristics to that person or object. Example: “The mind is an ocean” and “the city is a jungle” are both metaphors.
PersonificationWhen you associate a humanistic quality to an inanimate object.
ImageryThe use of pictures or words to create images, esp. to create an impression or mood.
Descriptive languageDescriptive language adds purpose, aesthetic value and emotion to a text. Example: adjectives, adverbs, similes, and metaphors
Figurative languageFigurative language refers to the use of words in a way that deviates from the conventional order and meaning in order to convey a complicated meaning, colorful writing, clarity, or evocative comparison. Example: This coffee shop is an ice box!
HyperboleExtravagant exaggeration. Example: Although he’s not given to hyperbole, Ron says we are light-years ahead of our time.
PunsA humorous use of a word or phrase that has several meanings or that sounds like another word. Example: She made a couple of dreadful puns.
Double entendreAmbiguity of meaning arising from language that lends itself to more than one interpretation.
OnomatopoeiaThe naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it.
Emotive languageEmotive language is the term used when certain word choices are made to evoke an emotional response. Example: Adjectives – Appalling, Wonderful, Heavenly, Magical and Tragic.
Inclusive languageInclusive language avoids biases, slang, or expressions that discriminate against groups of people based on race, gender, or socioeconomic status. Example: “We come in peace for all mankind” would likely now be “We come in peace for all humankind”
Exclusive languageExclusive language is language that uses words specifically chosen with the intent to exclude an individual or a group. Example: if you said “that is so retarded” and the person has a disability or knows someone with a disability
Direct address Direct address refers to any construct in which a speaker is talking directly to an individual or group. Example: “What time do you want to go to the game, Felix?"
Syntax The way in which linguistic elements are put together to form constituents. Example: The president’s tortured syntax was often satirized.
ClichéA saying or remark that is very often made and is therefore not original and not interesting. Example: The story is shamelessly corny, and grownups will groan at its clichés
IdiomA group of words in a fixed order that have a particular meaning that is different from the meanings of each word on its own. Example: ‘She was over the moon’
AssonanceRepetition of vowels without repetition of consonants used as an alternative to rhyme in verse. Example: “Hear the mellow wedding bells”
EuphemismA word or phrase used to avoid saying an unpleasant or offensive word.
Example: “Senior citizen” is a euphemism for “old person”.
MetonymyThe act of referring to something using a word that describes one of its qualities or features.
AnthropomorphismAn interpretation of what is not human or personal in terms of human or personal characteristics.
DictionThe connotations of words used in a text.
Syntax and punctuationSyntax- the grammatical arrangement of words in a sentence.
Punctuation- the act or practice of inserting standardized marks or signs in written matter to clarify the meaning and separate structural units.
Colloquial languageInformal and more suitable for use in speech than in writing.
Stylistic features The ways in which aspects of texts are arranged and how they affect meaning.
Examples of stylistic features are narrative viewpoint, structure of stanzas, juxtaposition
Cumulative listing Increasing by one addition after another.
Asyndeton Omission of the conjunctions that ordinarily join coordinate words or clauses. Example: “I came, I saw, I conquered”
SyndetonUsing conjunctions for effects. “He eats and sleeps and drinks”



What is Perspective?

What Is Perspective?

A perspective is a position from which things may be viewed or considered. It refers to the lens through which we experience the world of the text being studied.

When we discuss the perspective – or multiple perspectives – offered by a text, we must consider the factors that have shaped that viewpoint. These contextual factors can usually be organised into four main types:

  1. Physical perspective
  2. Temporal perspective
  3. Psychosocial perspective
  4. Ideological perspective


1. Physical perspective refers to the location of the narrator, author or creator in regard to what they are sharing with us. The physical perspective relates to the physical senses, to our bodies, and to the material and natural environments. 

2. Temporal perspective refers to the time frame through which something is being viewed. This is frequently a moment in the past, but can also be a moment in the present. When something is viewed in the past tense, the perspective may be that of someone who has had time to reflect. When something is in the present tense, the perspective may be less certain but more reactionary, emotional and immediate.

3. Psychosocial perspective refers to the personality, experiences and social background of a person. Someone’s perspective might generally be optimistic or pessimistic, nurturing or defensive, kind or cruel, innocent or experienced, open-minded or cynical, fortunate or tragic, privileged or under-privileged, etc. Their perspective might be shaped by the fact that they are a mother, father, widow, widower, grandparent, child, student, business owner, employee, war veteran, refugee, etc.

4. Ideology refers to the ways of thinking about the world that are characteristic of or in the interests of a particular group of people. An ideology is a system of beliefs.

Ideologies can be characteristic of nationalities, social classes, genders or occupational groups. For example, a patriarchal ideology constructs men as superior to women and seeks to promote laws, customs, behaviour, gender roles, texts and language that strengthen and maintain that ideology within a society. Feminism, on the other hand, is an ideology that believes women should be seen as the equal of men. Other well-documented ideologies that influence a person’s perspective include: colonialism, racism, socialism, capitalism, nationalism, and environmentalism. There are potentially many more.


Education For All Girls Helps Us All

Education For All Girls Helps Us All

At the end of every successful year in my business, I like to pay it forward and help other young women to find upward mobility in their lives. 

I believe education is the greatest gift we can give young women to allow them to be financially independent and proud of their achievements. And yet, there are still 130 million girls around the world who are denied an education. 

When we support young women, the whole world benefits. 

I have supported Plan International for many years as they do such a fantastic job of supporting and bettering the lives of young women. 

This year I have donated to allow five girls to access a legal identity. 

According to Plan International: 

Millions of girls grow up without formal recognition of their existence. By helping provide essential items like a girl’s birth certificate, you could protect her from early marriage, exploitation and trafficking, and secure a future where she can vote, work and claim her rights.

When girls are educated, the barriers to equality are much easier to break – both for themselves and future generations.

For every additional year of school that a girl completes, infant mortality rates are reduced by 5 to 10%. And 12 years of education for every girl would reduce child marriage worldwide by 64 percent.

A girl who can stay in school is more likely to grow into a woman who marries later, has a smaller and healthier family, earn better income and pursue the life she wants. Plus, she’ll go on to educate her family and her community – and she’ll break the cycle of poverty.

So what’s the impact?

Before discovering Plan International’s vocational training, Faith, now 21, was stuck in an abusive marriage. This is the power of your support:

“Just like I was, many of these girls are trapped in violent marriages and simply cannot leave their husbands because they are financially dependent on them. But vocational training can give these young women skills with which they can support themselves so they are no longer reliant on their husbands. Thanks to this vocational training, I can become financially independent.”

To help the work of Plan International, donate here. 

5 Things You Need To Do In Year 11 To Prepare For ATAR English

Many of my students who are currently completing Year 11 ATAR English are struggling to understand how to prepare and study so they can get ahead in Year 11 and Year 12.

I think that studying starts at a young age, but if you are ready to start in Year 11, there is no time like the present.

When I begin to work with students in year 11, one thing is abundantly clear: they have no idea how to go from Year 10 English to Year 11 English with ease.

Jumping from the F-10 syllabus to the ATAR English system can be really difficult. This is especially true as you need to pass ATAR English to receive your WACE certificate.

So… what should you do in Year 11 to prepare for your English exams? I’m glad you asked.

1. Prep Your Notes From Day 1

The allure of Tik Tok videos is real – we all know it. But I have seen many students spend hours at the end of the year pouring through their books and trying to find random pieces of paper with their best essays scrawled across them.

Students who take notes and synthesise those notes at the end of every unit have a much easier time in November when they prepare for their exams.

As a rule of thumb, a one-page A4 should be sufficient to summarise each of the units you complete in English.

2. Learn How to Compare And Contrast

When you start to look through past exams, you will notice that many of the questions ask you to you compare and contrast texts or review two texts.

Throughout the year, you should be thinking about key similarities and differences between all of your texts.

Are two of your texts of the same genre? Do two of them cover the same time period? Do two of your texts offer diverse perspectives on the same issue?

Always think of how you could write about two texts.

3. Watch a Documentary

You will need to write a persuasive, narrative or interpretive text based on a random prompt.

The best way to prepare for this is to “know things”. My students go into their WACE English exam with four or five different knowledge areas they could pull from in order to write their composing section.

Next time you go to Keep up with Kardashians, try watching a documentary and take some notes – you will thank me later.

4. Know All The Devices!

ATAR English is all about the devices, particularly in the comprehending section.

Please ensure you create (and laminate) a list of narrative, interpretive, persuasive and visual devices that you will be able to identify in the comprehending section.

This will also become useful in Year 12.

5. Find Your Cross-Curriculum Links

Many students of ATAR English don’t realise that a potential Composing response is right in front of them in their other subjects.

Take a look at your course material in your other subjects to see if there is anything to write about in your Composing. This means you are not learning totally new content and you are just using what you already know.

Studying Freud in Psychology? Learning about the Russian Revolution in History? What about Religion?

You will find information on all of your other subjects.


How to choose subjects for Year 11 and 12 ATAR?

It’s the middle of the year (or you are getting a head start) and you have been given your subject selection form for Year 11. It can be difficult to choose – or help your child with the choice – which subjects to use for Year 11.

If your child is preparing to enter their final years of school, it is important that you have answers for some the most common questions about Year 11 and 12 subject selection.

Q: Which subjects are compulsory in Year 11 and 12 for students in Western Australia?

To achieve the minimum requirements for students to receive a Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) in 2021 and beyond, you must do the following.

Breadth and depth requirement

  • Completion of a minimum of 20 units, which may include unit equivalents attained through VET and/or endorsed programs. This requirement must include at least: (Explanatory notes 1, 2 , 3, 4, 5)
    • a minimum of ten Year 12 units, or the equivalent
    • four units from an English learning area course, post-Year 10, including at least one pair of Year 12 units from an English learning area course
    • one pair of Year 12 units from each of List A (arts/languages/social sciences) and List B (mathematics/science/technology).

Achievement standard requirement

  • Achievement of at least 14 C grades or higher (or the equivalent) in Year 11 and 12 units, including at least six C grades (or equivalents) in Year 12 units. 
  • Completion of:
    • at least four Year 12 ATAR courses (Explanatory note 5), or
    • at least five Year 12 General courses(Explanatory note 7) (or a combination of General and up to three Year 12 ATAR courses(Explanatory note 5)) or equivalent(Explanatory note 8), or
    • a Certificate II (or higher) VET qualification(Explanatory notes 9 and 10) in combination with ATAR, General or Foundation courses).

Literacy and numeracy standard

  • Demonstration of the minimum standard of literacy and numeracy. (Explanatory notes 11 and 12)

To view explanatory notes, check here.

Some independent and Catholic schools list religious education as a compulsory subject, but you may be able to choose whether you do these as ATAR or general. Students can choose the remainder of their study load as they wish, although schools may also place pre-requisites on certain studies. For example, you might need to achieve a minimum of 60% in a certain subject in Year 10 to be able to do the subject in Year 11.   

Q: Are there any prerequisites for university courses?

A: University courses usually list English as a prerequisite. There are also a number of specialists courses that might have prerequisites or desirables. If your child plans to apply for university, they will need to make sure they are eligible to receive an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) and complete the required prerequisites. The best place to find this is on the Course Guides for the course that your child want to complete.

Q: How will scaling and moderation affect my child?

A lot of schools will quote “scaling” as a reason to do or not to do a subject. This is an important consideration to make. More details about TISC mark grading, you can click here. However, if your child is above average or thoroughly enjoys a certain subject, it is advisable to do that subject as your child will enjoy Year 11 and Year 12, rather than seeing the two years of study as a chore.

Q: What if my child doesn’t know what they want to do with their lives?

A: In this case, I would advise that your child does a broad range of subjects in Year 11 and Year 12, with as many ATAR subjects as they can manage. Depending on what they like, they will be able to determine which field of study they are better suited for. For example, if you enjoy Economics or Politics and Law, you might consider a Business or International Relations course. If you enjoy Human Biology, perhaps something in the health field?

Q: What if my child changes their mind between Year 11 and Year 12?

A: There are so many different factors that will affect a student in Year 11 and Year 12. Don’t panic if your child wants to drop a subject – this is totally normal. Delve to the bottom of why they want to swap and what their options are. They may be able to pick up another subject, or they may be able to complete a Certificate in lieu of another ATAR subject. Discuss these options with your school guidance counsellor.

What is an alternative reading?

What is an alternative reading?

In your study, you may have come across different reading practices or the phrase “alternative reading”.

This is a topic that is rarely covered in detail in class, but can be the difference between an average essay and an amazing essay.

SCSA WA defines reading and readings as the below:


The process of making meaning of text. This process draws on a repertoire of social, cultural and cognitive resources. Reading occurs in different ways, for different purposes, in a variety of public and domestic settings. Reading is therefore a cultural, economic, ideological, political and psychological act. The term applies to the act of reading print texts or the act of viewing a film or static image.


Readings are particular interpretations of a text. The classification of readings into alternative, resistant or dominant is quite arbitrary, depending on the ideology held by the reader. Alternative readings: readings that focus on the gaps and silences in texts to create meanings that vary from those meanings that seem to be foregrounded by the text. Dominant reading: is the reading that seems to be, for the majority of people in society, the natural or normal way to interpret a text. In a society where there are strongly competing discourses (i.e. most societies), the definition of what is a dominant reading depends on the ideology of the person making the decision. Resistant reading: a way of reading or making meaning from a text which challenges or questions the assumptions underlying the text. Resistant readings employ a discourse different from the discourse that produces the dominant reading

Source: SCSA WA

In simple terms, a reading is the way or the lens through which we interpret a certain text, be that novel, film, short story and everything in between.

Every text that you read can have multiple interpretations, depending on the reading you take. Many exams have used the term “readings” or “reading” in the responding section. Therefore, it’s wise for you to know how to conduct readings and write essays on readings.HD wallpaper: harry potter, warts, castle, magic, british, wand ...

Let’s take Harry Potter, for example.

A dominant reading of Harry Potter allows readers to understand that Harry is the traditional fantasy hero that saves the day. However, a resistant reading could be that minor characters are more fundamental to the plot line that J K Rowling intended, namely Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom. A gendered reading of Harry Potter could reveal that women should be values for their intelligence rather than for their beauty, as an indictment of society’s values. This has been demonstrated through the characters of Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood and Cho Cheng. All three female characters are appreciated for their book and street smarts, as well as their abilities to do spells. This is a very simplistic demonstration of alternative readings designed to show you the basics.

Depending on the text you have studied, type into Google <text name> + alternative reading and see what comes up! This will help you plan an essay on a dominant, resistant or alternative reading of your text for the purpose of an essay.

For more information on how to do “readings”, book your first session with Perth English Tutor.