Summary of Teaching Resource:
In this teaching resource, students learn about all aspects of literature including themes, vocabulary, phrases, comparisons, characters and more. The booklet is broken into chapters to assist students to focus on key sections within the text. The booklet incorporates plenty of reading analysis, along with complementary writing exercises.
About the text:
Seven Little Australians describes the life of a family, in particular its seven children in early outback Australia. The setting is a house nicknamed ‘Misrule’ and ‘Yarrahappini’ the house of their grandparents. Written from first person narrator we follow the adventures of Judy, Pip, Nell, Bunty, Meg, baby and ‘General’ with a focus on their characters and relationships.
Seven Little Australians is available for free download from project Gutenberg. There is also a 10-part miniseries available through ABC 1973 that closely follows the text. Although the mini-series is not referenced in this workbook it would be of benefit to students to perhaps view the version after examining the text. This would allow comparison between written and visual texts which is a common component of the Australian Curriculum. The Centenary edition of the text published in 1994 contains previously unpublished text that is worth examining for its portrayal of indigenous Australians.
It must be noted that this novel contains much that could be described as ‘moralistic’ in its tale but this should not deter the teacher from using this text; rather it is a common feature of early Australian writing as an attempt to educate and create virtue in a harsh lawless land. Some value therefore can be found in comparing authorial intent then and now; there are many examples of current novels and picture books that show an obvious themes or message that is a product of our social environment. In fact ‘morality’ is promoted now in different ways to address bullying, discrimination, racism etc.
Seven Little Australians is a novel which contains a wealth of references to poetry, plays, and sacred texts. It is worth familiarising yourself with the quotes in the novel as they allow the reader greater insight into the thematic intentions of the author and the social context of the time. Listed below are the referenced texts:
- William Wordsworth ‘ A slumber did my spirit seal’
- Adam Lindsay Gordon ’The Sick Stockrider’
- Lord Alfred Tennyson ‘Margaret’
- Shakespeare ‘Merchant of Venice – Act III Scene 7 and
- ‘King Henry Fifth’ Act 5 scene VIII
- Henry Francis Lyte ‘ Abide with Me’
- W S Gilbert ‘ Mikado’ Act I scene 10 and ‘A Baffled Gambler’
- Book of Matthew Chap 13 verse 42
Australian Curriculum Links:
Year 5 Literature:
- Present a point of view about particular literary texts using appropriate metalanguage, and reflecting on the viewpoints of others (ACELT1609)
- Identify aspects of literary texts that convey details or information about particular social, cultural and historical contexts (ACELT1608)
- Use metalanguage to describe the effects of ideas, text structures and language features on particular audiences (ACELT1795)
- Recognise that ideas in literary texts can be conveyed from different viewpoints, which can lead to different kinds of interpretations and responses (ACELT1610)
- Create literary texts using realistic and fantasy settings and characters that draw on the worlds represented in texts students have experienced (ACELT1612)
- Create literary texts that experiment with structures, ideas and stylistic features of selected authors (ACELT1798)
This text also has links to the Australian Curriculum for Literature for Years 6 and 7. Please view here
Download the Workbook below:
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