Modelling the text (deconstruction)

Cyclical explanations are texts that explain a cyclical phenomenon, such as the life cycle of a butterfly. Select cyclical explanation texts to use as mentor texts or create exemplar texts to share with the students.

During this stage, a focus on the language features of the text are modelled or highlighted. Select which aspects of language from the suggestions below, are best to teach, dependent on your students’ level and prior learning.

Here is an example of a teacher created cyclical explanation text.

The Life Cycle of the Cicada

Cicadas go through four main stages throughout their life time – egg, early nymph, later nymph and adult.

The adult cicada lays eggs in the grooves of branches. The eggs stay packed in the grooves, until it is time for them to hatch. When the eggs hatch, the young cicadas emerge as early nymphs to feed on the tree sap. At this stage the early nymphs look like tiny, white ants.

The nymphs feed and grow and then drop to the ground where they bury deep into the dirt. The nymphs can spend several years underground, feeding on the roots of the trees. Throughout their time underground, the nymphs grow.

During the summer months, after spending many years underground, the cicada nymphs emerge from the dirt and climb up the trunks of trees. They shed their outer skins and spread their wings. The male cicadas make a loud singing sound as they communicate with the females. The cicadas spend the warmer months in the trees, and become fully grown adult cicadas. The new adult female cicadas lay eggs in the grooves of the branches.

Read the mentor text and discuss the purpose of the text. Discuss the use of statements which present the information as facts.