Teachers will use an array of material in class. Texts include literary texts, fiction and non-fiction, media texts, everyday texts, and workplace texts, from increasingly complex and unfamiliar settings, ranging from the everyday language of personal experience to more abstract, specialised and technical language drawn from a range of contexts.

Texts provide important opportunities for learning about aspects of human experience and about aesthetic appeal. Texts can be written, spoken, multimodal, and in print or digital/online.

Texts are structured for particular purposes; for example, to retell, to instruct, to entertain, to explain and to argue. Teachers may select whole texts and/or parts of texts depending on units of study, cohorts and level of difficulty.

‘Literary texts’ refers to past and present texts across a range of cultural contexts that are valued for their form and style and are recognised as having enduring or artistic value. While the nature of what constitutes ‘literary texts’ is dynamic and evolving, they are seen as having personal, social, cultural and aesthetic appeal and potential for enriching students’ scope of experience. Literary texts include a broad range of forms such as novels, poetry, short stories, plays, fiction, multimodal texts such as film, and non-fiction.

Sample text list

The following texts are examples of literary texts suitable for the study of English and are intended to stimulate thinking about teaching resources in relation to the content of the curriculum. The following examples are not meant to be prescriptive.

  • Swallow the Air by Tara June Winch (novel)
  • The Broken Shore by Peter Temple (novel)
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (novel)
  • Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (short stories)
  • The Shoe-Horn Sonata by John Misto (play)
  • A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (play; film directed by Elia Kazan)
  • Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare (play)
  • Gattaca directed by Andrew Niccol (film)
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by Zdenko Basic and Manuel Sumberac (illustrated version)
  • Maus by Art Spiegelman (graphic novel)
  • Cloudstreet by Tim Winton (novel)
  • The Secret River by Kate Grenville (novel)
  • Citizen Kane directed by Orson Welles (film)
  • Christina Rossetti
  • Wilfred Owen
  • Judith Wright
  • Romaine Moreton
  • Australian Poetry Library http://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/
  • Windchimes: Asia in Australian poetry edited by Rowe and Smith
  • Unpolished Gem by Alice Pung (memoir)
  • Dear America – Letters Home from Vietnam edited by Bernard Edelman (collection of letters)
  • I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr (speech)
  • Australian War Memorial website (multimodal)
  • The Legacy: An elder’s vision of our sustainable future by David Suzuki (speech)
  • First Australians directed by Rachel Perkins (documentary)
  • Cry Freedom directed by Richard Attenborough (film)
  • The Justice Game by Geoffrey Robertson (essays)