Persuasion and Influence

2. Analysing Persuasive Elements in a Literary Text: The Island

Suggested Learning Intentions

  • To interpret an author’s point of view
  • To explore how evaluative language is used to influence the reader

Sample Success Criteria

  • I can suggest an author’s point of view
  • I can identify an example of evaluative language
  • I can use evaluative language to influence the reader
  • Greder, Armin, 2002, The Island, Allen and Unwin, Crows Nest
  • A list of alternative texts suitable to examine the author’s point of view are listed in the resource section.
  • Brainstorm: Purpose and features of persuasive texts: docx PDF

This stage of the sequence focuses on deconstructing a text to focus explicitly on language, and examines how evaluative language choices shape meaning and influence the reader.

Introduce The Island to the students with a book orientation. The orientation could include:

  • Information about the author. For example, Armin Greder was born in Switzerland and developed a love of reading early in life. He loved reading about far-away places.
  • The author’s purpose. When Greder wrote The Island in the 1990s, it was considered ‘unpublishable’ – it was not a children’s story. His work challenges what we expect from picture story books.
  • A summary of the literal meaning of the story and the inferred themes relevant to society, for example, fear and distrust of outsiders, how refugees are treated today. Misty Adoniou provides an instructional model to present a text orientation and to explicitly teach grammar in context.
  • A discussion of the illustration style used by Greder.

1. Shared reading/book response

Ensure that all students can see the illustrations as you read the text. You may wish to pause at salient points in the story to encourage discussion. For example, after reading the page with the text, “So they took him in,” you could:

  • Invite students to use a See, Think, Wonder routine closely analysing the page.
  • Ask students to compare and contrast how Greder has represented the islanders and ‘the man’.
  • Discuss and elaborate on the deeper meaning created by the text and imagery.

After reading, ask the students to complete a book response making text to text, text to self, text to world connections.

Enable students to make connections to the text by providing sentence stems to prompt their thinking. Encourage students to illustrate their text responses to add visual detail.

Invite students to share their book responses and generate a discussion exploring the main ideas and themes from the text and the particular viewpoint that Armin Greder has taken.

2. Interpret the author’s point of view

Possible question prompts:

  • How did you feel towards the islanders and ‘the man’ as you read the text? Could you describe the emotions you were feeling and link them to events in the text?
  • How might Greder have influenced your thinking and feeling as you read the text?
  • What might be his purpose for writing this book?
  • What might be the point of view that Armin Greder is trying to present in this book?
  • Is it possible that Greder was trying to persuade you to think and feel in a particular way?
  • What ‘aspect of society' might Greder be wanting you to think about?

Model writing a possible interpretation of Greder’s point of view. For example:

“Armin Greder may have been wanting the reader to think about how humans react to people who are different to themselves or from another place. Some groups, communities, and governments are fearful of outsiders who might be looking for a better life. This fear can lead people to act with hostility and suspicion, rather than care and compassion.”

Ask students to write and illustrate their own interpretation of Greder’s point of view. Provide illustrations from the text for students to refer to in their response.


Enable students who require further support to present their responses in short written text supported by drawings, or to make an audio or video recording.

3. Examine the author’s use of vocabulary to create meaning

Model analysing a sentence from the text to interpret how Greder intentionally uses language to create meaning and position the reader. For example:

  • Ask “How does Greder influence the reader’s thinking and present his point of view in this passage?

“In the end, the innkeeper agreed to let the man have the scraps he would otherwise toss to the pigs, and they took him back to the goat pen.”

  • Invite students to identify the verbs and nouns in the passage.
  • Break the text apart, phrase by phrase, invite student responses and discuss the explicit use of words and phrases to suit the purpose and intention of the author. 

Invite students to select a sentence from the text and repeat the complete a similar analysis, or you may wish to preselect appropriate sentences.

Ask students to work collaboratively in pairs or small groups to discuss the possible purpose and intentions of selected phrases from the sentence. Students could demonstrate their understanding by writing a short explanation and/or drawing an image to match the excerpt.

Enable students to identify persuasive language by repeating the analysis with a different sentence, with the teacher facilitating a discussion and responding to student contributions.

Generate a discussion around the suggested success criteria for this stage, “I can explain how the author uses language to present a particular point of view.” Invite students to elaborate on their interpretations of passages from the text.

Invite groups to share their interpretations of the selected sentences. Encourage group discussion and feedback and provide opportunities for students to further develop their responses.

4. Using vocabulary with intention

Model changing the meaning of a sentence by using vocabulary intentionally to suggest that the villagers were kind and generous. For example:

In the end, the innkeeper agreed to let the man have the scraps he would otherwise toss to the pigs, and they took him back to the goat pen.

Happily, the inn keeper offered to provide the visitor with the left overs he would sometimes feed to his animals, and they accompanied him back to his lodgings.

Allow time for students to practice using vocabulary intentionally to change the meaning of a sentence from the text and to experiment with the sentence structure. View an example of Misty Adoniou examining the deliberate use of language at 1.22.00 of the video.

Enable students by writing a shared text. Students can rewrite the example using their own word substitutions. Write each word on to word cards so they can be physically removed and substituted to reduce the cognitive load.

Extend students by suggesting they alter the language from a longer passage to develop a different point of view. The students could further explore the use of literary texts as persuasive devices by writing a short story or picture story book with a persuasive theme.

Invite students to share samples of their work. This could include the text-to-self, text-to-text, text-to-world response, their summary of the Greder’s intention or the sentence work exploring evaluative language.

Revisit earlier questions for discussion:

  • What ‘aspect of society’ might Greder be wanting the reader to think about?
  • Do you think picture story books can be persuasive texts?

Collect student work samples to assess their ability to identify the author’s point of view and to use evaluative language effectively.

Baker, J., 2000. The Hidden Forest. s.l.:Walker Books.

Crew, G., 2008. Cat on an Island. Sydney: Angus Roberston.

Crew, G. & Wilson, M., 2004. I Did Nothing: The Extinction of the Gastric-Brooding Frog. South Melbourne: Lothian Books.

Facing History and Ourselves, n.d. Resource Library, Teaching Strategies, Text to Text, Text to Self, Text to World. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Facing History and Ourselves, n.d. Resource Library, Teaching Strategies, Text to Text, Text to Self, Text to World. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Lofthouse, L., 2012. Ziba Came by Boat. Australia: Penguin.
Monaghan, F., 2015. NALDIC SCL RIG3: Misty Adoniou – Literacy through Literature 3. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Monaghan, F., 2015. NALDIC SCL RIG3: Misty Adoniou - Literacy through Literature 2. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Regional Leadership Conferences and Forums Team, 2018. Associate Professor Misty Adoniou – Workshop. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Thinking Pathways, n.d. See Think Wonder. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Thompson, C., 2006. The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley. s.l.:Hachette Australia.

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