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CoBaLTT Participants

Text Analysis: Example 1

Example of a Completed Written Text analysis

Jill Pearson  - March, 2004

Water Use
Text Title: Comment préserver l'eau à la maison
Grade Level: 11th-12th
Language Proficiency Level:
      reading, intermediate-low to mid,
      listening, intermediate-low to mid;
      speaking, intermediate-low to high;
      writing, intermediate-low to advanced.

PLEASE NOTE: To see this text analysis as an integrated piece of a lesson (and the unit), please visit Lesson 2 of Jill's unit.



Key related concepts
Waste (of water), water purification, hygiene, conservation


  • Household activities such as toilet flushing, showing (and other hygienic activities), clothes washing, cleaning, and gardening use a lot of water (see text for figures).
  • In Western countries, we use water that is purified to the level of drinking water for tasks that do not involve human consumption of water.
  • Household appliances typically use a lot of water, but there are new products that are made to save water (toilets, shower heads, etc.)

Essential Understandings Requiring Pre-teaching

  • People need water to live.
  • People depend on water for many activities during the day.
  • Many people waste/ use excessively water.
  • People may take water and its availability for granted.
  • What's here today may not be tomorrow.
  • There are steps we can take as individuals to conserve water.

Unfamiliar cultural assumptions

Products (unfamiliar or familiar but used in a new way)
Gardens or yards (see below)
Toilet (model pictured in text is likely unfamiliar to American youth)
Water-conserving appliances (according to this article, they have le label européen.

Practices (unfamiliar or familiar but used in a new way)
"jardinage": gardening in Belgium, where this text is from, would likely involve much less water than American gardening or lawn care due to the fact that lawns are typically smaller in Belgium and people in America water their grass more in an effort to keep it very green, and for that matter, are more likely to use sod than Belgians.
Using “litres” as measurement

Bigger is not necessarily better

Text Organization

Purpose (e.g., present information, teach a moral, entertain, etc.)
Discussion: to evaluate an issue and persuade another
Report: to give information

Text Structure (e.g., introduce setting/character, events, problem/resolution, etc.)
Title: Identifies issue (conservation of water at home)
Thesis: “It's important to consume water in a responsible manner and to eliminate polluting wastes.”
Supporting evidence: Shows how much water we use for different domestic tasks, shares figures regarding how changing habits and making changes in appliances can conserve water
2nd statement of position: “Use a rain water well for washing, cleaning, the toilets, washing machine, and watering your garden”
Supporting evidence: list of advantages (economic, environmental, etc.)

Linguistic Features related to Genre [connectives, (e.g., adverbs of time, conjunctions), verb type (action vs. saying verbs), verb tense, use of dialogue, etc.]

  • Inclusion through use of "nous" imperative: choisissons, concentrons-nous, réparons… (let's choose, let's concentrate, let's repare…)

    [NOTE: this feature might be in conflict with the framework for linguistic features in the discussion genre set forth by Fortune & Tedick 2003. Nominalization is not used to create authority and de-personalize the text; rather, the language is inclusive and incites the reader to join a collective movement. Perhaps this can be explained by the fact that this is a less sophisticated text aimed at a younger audience.]

  • Connectives: Clarifying (donc), indicating time (lors, lorsque), adding information (ainsi)
  • Conjunctions: Showing cause/effect (par conséquent)
  • Additional cause & effect language (Elle permet…, Cela prolonge…)

Learning Strategies and Possible Instructional Activities

Before Reading
Make personal connection
to the issue by conducting a personal investigation: chart how many times you flush the toilet, wash hands, etc.
Activate prior knowledge
through a discussion of their “findings.”
Make predictions
both about how much water you use and about the title and the content of the article.

During Reading
Recognize and use cognates
to comprehend the text.
Make inferences based on context (including pictures/use imagery) to interpret the meaning of the text.
Use background knowledge such as previously learned vocabulary (domestic tasks, etc.).
Apply personal learning strategies (manage my own learning, monitor task, use resources - ask questions)

After Reading
Summarize the reading and debrief as a class.
the text and apply the information by using the figures given to calculate how much water you used in the day you recorded your activities.
Compare water use with classmates through discussion (cooperate).
Take notes
, making a list of linguistic features-the different ways suggestions are made.
information, listing things we can do to conserve water that are: easy/ less easy, inexpressive/ expensive, things I am willing to do/ things , things I'm not willing to do, etc. (also personalize).

Vocabulary (Words, Phrases, Idioms)

Essential vocabulary for learning the content (CO)
Personal hygiene/domestic task vocabulary: se laver, se baigner, prendre une douche, le nettoyage, le jardinage, activités ménagères, la vaisselle, la chasse d'eau, domestique

Waste & conservation related vocabulary: gaspillage, préserver, réduire, perte Other: moyenne, consommer, l'eau potable, la chasse , utilisation, aliments, les fuites

Select vocabulary to review or preview (material or activity related) (CC)
L'eau, la maison, l'environnement
economic language: cher, le prix, coûter

Grammatical Structures and Communicative Functions

Essential language structures and functions for learning the content (CO)
Functions: stating importance, making suggestions
Negation: Ne..que, ne…pas
Imperatives: infinitives as imperatives and nous imperatives

Select language structures and functions to review or preview (material or activity related) (CC)
Functions: expressing obligation, making suggestions, showing consequence (permettre de faire quelque chose) making predictions (je pense que, je crois que); making comparisons: plus, moins, aussi + adverb or adjective,
Question forms, rhetorical questions



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