How to Help Your Primary School Student Write a Narrative

How to Help Your Primary School Student Write a Narrative

Most of the parents who reach out to me are often exasperated by the daunting task of helping their child through the English homework as they progress from primary school to high school. 

Writing narratives can often be one of the pain points that leads to parental-child conflict and arguments over the dinner table. 

Narratives are an important part of the English syllabus right from the early foundational years all the way through to the year 12 exams. 

Why Are Stories Important?

Stories are important for our children to be able to tell because as they become adults, they will need to communicate complex ideas often in simple ways and for different audiences. 

The process of having to plan, drafting and editing a narrative will help your child to become a lifelong storyteller and achieve communication success. 

So how do you help your child write a narrative? 

Step One – Decide on a Setting

Setting can often be difficult as it is difficult for students to come up with concepts that they cannot see. One way to help your child find a setting for their story is to do some Google searching of different types of settings. You can google cities, jungles, different landmarks and different types of places they could use to establish their story. But the most important thing is that you provide your child with a visual to help them understand where their story takes place 

Step Two – Decide on a Character 

There is always the protagonist in every story that your child will write and it is important that you help your child to craft that protagonist. Try and get them to extend beyond writing themselves as the protagonist. Perhaps ask them to think about if their grandpa and grandma could be the protagonist or if one of their friends could be the protagonist. This will help to avoid cliches and will allow the student to show that they can put themselves in unfamiliar situations and write about them. 

Step Three – Setting One Hour, One Day, One Setting

As you approach the story writing phase, you need to clarify with your child that the story should take place over one day, one hour or one setting. Oftentimes, students will create elaborate texts that take place over days, months or even years. This leads to poorly written stories that jump from place to place. Now when you change your focus to one hour, one day or one setting will help them to think about the parts of the date for the parts of the settings that are actually important to describe.

Step Four – Plot Structure

Have your child map out the four main steps of the plot seen below. Start with the resolution and then go back to the start so that your child understands where they need to take the story. 

Step Five – Narrative Devices

Narrative devices are the elements that make a story great. These include things like imagery, narrative point of view, figurative language description, emotion, dialogue and a whole suite of others that can be found elsewhere on the website. Making a list and having an understanding of how to use these can make a story more robust and more descriptive for the teacher. 

Step Six – Writing the Story 

For your narrative, I would recommend starting with a sizzling start. A sizzling start is a description of either action taking place dialogue or a key feature in the scene. For example, you could start with a 4 to 5 sentence description of how the character is tying up his shoelaces. What this does is it creates intrigue and it creates mystery as to what is going to happen next in the story. The biggest mistake the students make if they don’t think about the description in their writing so including a description from the very first sentence can make a big impact. Try and ask the students what the character was wearing or what they were doing or so on.  

Teaching your child to write a narrative can be a big job. Be sure to be gentle with yourself as you were doing the best job possible. For more tips and tricks make sure you sign up to our newsletter.

How To Do The Composing Section of The English Exam: Narrative

How To Do The Composing Section of The English Exam: Narrative

Narrative writing is something that many of my students find particularly difficult because they believe that they do not have a creative person in their body. 

However, creativity is something that doesn’t occur naturally but something that we craft and perfect over time. You will find that some of the best writers in the world often have the same self-doubt that you do when you’re writing a narrative text. The good thing about this situation though is that they have time to research ruminate and consider elements of the plot structure. 

You, however, have one hour to complete this, which can be particularly difficult. The first thing that you must do when you are writing a story is to consider brainstorm. The brainstorm is a very important part of story writing particularly when you receive a prompt that you need to respond to. When you look at the image or the phrase write down the first words that jump into your mind and do that process for a few minutes or 30 seconds so that you can work through all the ideas that you have in your head. 

What you must then do is follow a very precise process that will be laid out here. 

1. Planning.

Planning is the most important part of your story writing and most people miss this part because they believe it takes too much time to plan. However, by creating a story arc you will be able to tell where you were going to take the first part of your exposition right through the rising action through to the climax, the falling action and then the resolution. Down below you will find a typical plan for a story that you should follow every time you start writing. 

How To Do The Composing Section of The English Exam Narrative

2. Choosing a Narrator. 

The second most important decision that you need to make when you are starting to write a story is to decide who will tell the story. The author is the person who writes the story and the narrator is the person who will tell the story. You are the author who is the narrator. You can either tell the story or you can either have a first-person narrator who says “I, we, our, us” or a third-person narrator who says “he, she, they”.

3. Tense

Choosing the tense in which you write your story is fundamentally important for the story itself and one of the biggest mistakes that students make when they are writing a story is that they change between tenses. If you start your story with “I jumped, I ran, I flew” then you cannot switch to “I run, I jump, I fly”. Make sure you stick to your tense. 

4. Keep it short. 

When you only have one hour to write a narrative please do not attempt to write a narrative that takes place over days, weeks, months or even years. Your story should take place over one hour, one day or one set in order to make sure that you can address each of the parts of the text in detail. When you are planning your story ensure that the point of climax happens within that same setting day or hour. 

For more help on how to write a narrative, contact Perth English Tutor. 

How To Do The Composing Section of The English Exam: Persuasive

How To Do The Composing Section of The English Exam: Persuasive

When it comes to the last section of your ATAR English exam, there can be some confusion as to what you are actually required to do. This section of the exam is testing your ability to receive a prompt and respond to that prompt in a creative way. 

There are many options of creative texts that you can craft in this section but essentially they are broken down into three subsections. These are interpretive, imaginative and persuasive. Most teachers now will teach you how to write a narrative response in response to these exam questions, however, you must be aware that you have more options than just to write a narrative. 

One strong way to answer this series of questions is through persuasive. Persuasive essay writing involves taking an opinion on the topic and writing a series of body paragraphs in response to the prompt. Persuasive writing will begin for you in year 3 or year 5 when you were required to do your NAPLAN test. Many of these ideas that you would’ve learnt at a young age should come back and be a part of your learning again as you reach ATAR. 

The best thing to do is actually pre-prepare some topics or problems that you are ready to write at a moment’s notice. Here at our top tips for success in writing a persuasive essay for your ATAR exams. 

1. Ensure That You Have a Variety of Ideas to Discuss. 

When it comes to the composing section of your exam, many students believe that there is no way they can study. This is unequivocally wrong. Being aware of three or four major topics in society and different ideas around those topics will help you actually have something to say. My past students have written about topics from diabetes to euthanasia to racism to bullying to anything else you could possibly write an essay about. The key is to have three or four different ideas that you could go to. The way to decide on these ideas is to brainstorm some of the key issues and topics that interest you and maybe have a look at your other subjects for ideas. Are you a history buff? Perhaps have a look at the efficacy of communism compared to capitalism and you could write or craft an interpretive response to the idea of communism. If you are interested in the sciences perhaps you could write about vaccinations or infectious disease control. There are many different topics that you could write about but the most important thing is to write about something that interests you, otherwise, you’ll find it difficult to maintain steam as the year progresses. 

2. Pre-Plan Your Answers and Try and Apply Them to Past Questions. 

There are often themes that emerge when you look at different exams over the past 5 to 10 years in English. Things like technology, issues that affect teenagers and issues that affect our society are often cited in the composing section of the exam. Choose three topics that you are interested in and research all of the negatives of these issues, the consequences of these issues and the solutions to these issues and try to apply them to the prompts from past English exams. 

3. Focus on Your Integration of Persuasive Devices. 

Persuasive devices are those handy little things that help us to understand that the text that you have written is persuasive. These include things such as inclusive language, rhetorical questions, facts and statistics, anecdotal evidence, personal voice, figurative language, emotive language and other elements that you are probably a custom to interpreting in your comprehending section. Please make an effort to remember these and then incorporate them into your text. Markers love to see when students have actually thought through the persuasive elements and try to make an effort to use them cohesively within the peace. A personal favourite of mine is inclusive language when you were talking about issues that affect the whole of society. Ensure that you include at least three of them in each body paragraph. 

For more information on how to write and then suasive text for your ATAR English exam, contact Perth English Tutor today.

How to Do a Literature Close Reading?

How to Do a Literature Close Reading?

When it comes to literature, close reading is a technique that helps you understand and master the text in a better way. In other words, it is the art of looking very close within the lines, phrases, and words and understanding the whys of them.

So, here is the step-by-step process of how to do a close reading.

Begin With Annotation 

The first step to start your close read journey is to annotate. It is the process of highlighting and underlying the material that seems important or has a deeper meaning to it or offers insights towards a better understanding of the overall text. The key to this technique is to rely on the hard copy of the text. It will help you connect with the text near almost no electronic screen or e-book.

Make Notes as You go! 

Another thing you should do to understand the text better is to make side notes. The insights of these notes should come from the textual observation and your objective response to the material. For example, what was the first thing you observed that struck you? What are its elements? Is it love, suspense, or revolution? Jot everything down. It will help you draw logical conclusions about the text without even understanding the background.

Establish Patterns of Similarities and Differences 

Another step in close reading is to establish the patterns in the text. Is there a repetition of the same types of the word? Are the sentence structures rhyming or repetitive? What is the structuring in the paragraphs? What kinds of word are used to represent a particular situation? All of these questions can help determine the patterns within the sections as well as sentences. It is an essential step in literature analysis as it can represent the crucial details.

Observe at the Micro-Level 

Observation at a micro level can help you understand the crux of the whole content. Look out for the syntax, pauses, rhetorical devices, sounds, imagery, and tone of the text. For example, if the sentences are short or long? What does the text sound like? Is it harsh or represent turmoil, or is it calm? Do you feel something is missing? Did the writer use analogies or symbolism?

Question the Whys of Everything 

The last and the most important thing is reflecting into the f it. Why does the text use certain words? Why did the writer miss out on details that should be talked about? These questions will help you reflect on all the observations made during the reading up of the passage.


 Literature close reading is not rocket science however without the perfect strategy it is not possible to get the gist of it. While doing the literature close reading follow the above-mentioned points to have a rejuvenating experience.



What is the stat test?

The STAT test is also known as the Special Tertiary Admissions Test, which allows universities to assess whether you are capable of attending and succeeding at university.

The test is suitable for people such as the following: 

  1. Mature-age applicants who don’t have a recent or standard Year 12 qualification
  2. Applicants who completed their previous studies outside Australia
  3. Applicants who did not gain a satisfactory ATAR (for certain courses and universities)

The STAT test is your typical aptitude test that evaluates verbal and quantitative reasoning. Specific curriculum knowledge is not required to be able to pass. In other words, you cannot study “content” for the test, just concepts. 

There are two different STAT tests that you will be required to complete:

  1. STAT Multiple Choice test
  2. STAT Written English test


Requirements vary from state to state within Australia. Individual institutions set their own admission requirements. You will need to refer to the university of choice. 


Candidates should check with the institution to which they are applying to assess whether you are eligible as a stat student. As a general rule, an applicant must be 18 years or over by a certain date in the year of admissions to use STAT results in their application but there may be extenuating circumstances.


Refer to the current university course guide to see what the admission requirements are for that particular university. They are the only people that can advise if they will accept STAT results and which test(s) are required (eg Multiple Choice only or Multiple Choice and Written English).


Candidates may only sit the STAT test once per test cycle. This runs from 15 April to 14 April of the following year. 


The STAT Written English requires written responses to two themes. Four comments (prompts) will be given for the students to respond to. 

The test will offer the following directions to candidates:


  • There are two parts to this test, and four comments are offered for each part. You are required to produce two pieces of writing − one in response to a comment from Part A, and one in response to a comment from Part B.
  • Part A is a more formal public affairs issue that invites argument. Part B is a less formal topic that invites more personal reflection.
  • One hour is allocated for this test, with an additional five minutes reading time.
  • Your responses to the essay comments are written directly on the test paper. You should write your essays neatly and legibly in pen.
  • Circle the comment you are responding to. Do not try to address all of the other comments
  • Give each piece of writing a title that will help orient a reader to the approach you are taking.

The following themes and comments indicate the kind of stimulus material that will be offered in this test



  1. Technology has a destablising effect on humans and should be used with caution.
  2. Technology presents humanity with the greatest opportunity ever known to man. 
  3. Too much of technological advancement is focused on greed rather than on good. 
  4. If we can provide all of humanity with the tools and technology, we will be able to solve the world’s biggest problems. 


  1. Family is the most important part of our lives because it gives us our grounding and stability in life.
  2. Individuals should be able to decide whether they spend time with their family or take their personal space. 
  3. It is important to make our own space in the world rather than fall into the same patterns as our family. 
  4. Having boundaries in our life is the most important thing we can do for our mental health. 

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:

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).


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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.


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.