Audience is the intended group of readers, listeners or viewers that a text is addressing. Understanding the concept of audience is central to writing. Students at this stage are learning that texts convey meaning even when the author is not present.
Strategy – explicit teaching
Students are developing awareness that texts are read by and composed for an audience. Provide frequent opportunities for students to talk about whether texts are informative or imaginative; and who is likely to read, listen or view.
Students at the Foundation stage build an awareness of audience through explicit teaching and opportunities to read, view and write a variety of texts composed for different audiences. Building a concrete understanding of audience at this stage will support students with more abstract conceptions of audience at a later stage.
Model strategies for considering the audience and purpose of a shared text. For example, I wonder who would be interested in reading this book about Science experiments.
Prompt students to think about what appeals to them and influences them as a reader, listener or viewer. Use library lessons and book borrowing as an opportunity to encourage students’ self-awareness of their preferences: For example; Which of these books would you choose to borrow? Why?
Provide regular opportunities to discuss and identify the different audiences and purposes of a range of familiar or everyday texts that relate to their personal experience: For example; Which television show do you like to watch? Which television show does Mum like to watch? Does Grandma like to watch the same television shows as you? Etc.
Activity 1: think aloud
This is a modelling strategy that can be used for any text orientation in a whole class, small group or 1:1 context. It could be used with content or subject matter in any learning area.
Explicitly model understanding of purpose and audience using a ‘think aloud’ strategy during orientations to shared texts including books, posters, videos, websites etc. (this strategy can be used to model a range of literacy strategies and concepts about print).
- Select a text that suits the lesson focus to integrate literacy in other learning areas.
- Imagine you are telling the story of yourself looking through the text with particular skills or strategies in mind.
- For example:
I can see that this book has a lot of information and facts about dinosaurs and so it was probably written for an audience that is interested in dinosaurs …
- Continue the ‘think aloud’ to familiarise students with the whole text, in particular this will support emerging readers, EAL/D and Indigenous students.
- After completing the ‘think aloud’ return to the beginning and read the text.
- Variation: the activity could be a warm-up or introduction to the main lesson and you may only need to ‘think aloud’ and read the beginning or a relevant part of the text.
- Extension: guide students in their own ‘think aloud’ about shared texts using questioning. For example, look at the cover. What can you see? What is the title? Who would be interested in this? Do you know someone who would like this text?
Activity 2: audience matching flash cards (in pairs, small groups or whole class)
This activity uses simple and familiar contexts to support students’ awareness that different texts have different audiences. It can be played as a simple matching activity or as a card game such as snap or memory.
Using the images of people and texts, students can match the text to the likely intended audience. Download the flash cards on PDF via the link below.
ACELA1431: Text structure and organisation: Understand that some language in written texts is unlike everyday spoken language.
ENe-7B: Outcome 7: recognises some different purposes for writing and that own texts differ in various ways (ENe-7B) - Develop and apply contextual knowledge: discuss the possible audiences of imaginative and informative texts.
NSW literacy continuum
WRIC4M4: Aspects of writing, Cluster 4, Marker 4: Talks about the audience and purpose for texts being written.
- A interactive and engaging learning sequence aimed at K-2 to explore audience and purpose through the use of fonts:
- Teachers can learn the basic features of Clicker 6 and gain the knowledge and skills required to create personalised, curriculum-specific activities, allowing students to compose different types of written texts for a range of purposes and audiences.
Websites with a range of online texts (many with audio or read aloud) that can be accessed individually, in pairs or as a whole-class shared texts: