What is a Text?
Time 35 mins

Difficulty Beginner
Prerequisites None
Departments English
Authors Vince Leung
Jon Rees
Groupings Individual
Minimum Year Group None


What is a text in English? We know that short stories, poems, and plays are all texts we can study in English. But really if we can extract meaning from it, anything at all is a text! Essays, Articles, Letters are all texts, but so are videos, Ted Talks, Posters, and Film.


This work is shared under the following license: Creative Commons BY-SA-NC


What is needed to run this unit?
  • ...
Cross-Curricular Links
Do not try and force this. What areas of other subjects might this reflect and/discuss language. For IB, links with ToK.
  • ...
Teacher Reflection
What was successful? What needs changing? Alternative Assessments and Lesson Ideas? What other Differentiation Ideas/Plans could be used?
  • ...
Any CC attribution, thanks, credit, etc.

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Evidence for this unit

Please open a Google doc with the title, "What is a Text? + Your Name", and use that document to gather evidence throughout this unit.

15 mins
Is This a Text?
Character Sketch

Text is any recorded creation that communicates meaning.

Apart from traditional forms of language-based texts and literary texts, there are a range of more modern text types which we need to be able to understand in the 21st Century.

These include:

  • Online News Articles;
  • Social Media posts (Facebook, Instagram etc.);
  • Youtube videos;
  • Movies;
  • Advertisements etc. 

To understand these texts we need to be able to not only read the language of the writing, but also powerful cues in visual messages, such as colour connotation, images, choice of font and layout. 

A still from Martin Scorsese's iconic film Taxi Driver

Write a 50-100 word response to the still above. You might like to refer to these key details. 

  • What name would you give the character? 
  • What emotions do you think are running through his mind? 
  • Who is he pointing the gun at? Why? 
  • Where is this scene located? (time of day, which city? what kind of place within the city?) 

Finally, answer this: Do you think this is a text? Why or why not?

20 mins
Reading anything as a text!
Buildings, People, Artefacts

As critical readers of language or literature, we use our detective skills to "zoom in" on key details and extract information that we are told explicitly, and then deduce what we can infer about a character, setting, or situation.

Take a look at the master detective, Sherlock Holmes, in action.  

Now take a look at the following images. For each, write down 5-10 things you can see. Then write a sentence or two, explaining what you can infer about the image. 

Here's an example to guide you: 

Now you try!

Edward Hopper, Automat, 1927. 

Taj Mahal, India.

Green Day, American Idiot (Album Cover), 2004.

Finishing Up...
Final submission

Throughout this unit you have been adding reflections to a Google doc. Now you are ready to proofread (check for any spelling mistakes, make sure it has a title: "What is a Text? + Your Name" and then submit! 



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Unit Students

Shared on 16/11/2020
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