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Language, Literature, and Literacy Activities

Australian Curriculum: English – Year 6 – ‘Stolen Girl’ by Trina Saffioti and Norma



Understand the uses of commas to separate clauses (ACELA1521) (SCSA, 2016)

ACTIVITY – Identify the independent- and the dependent clause in complex sentences

Students will look for complex sentences (complex sentence contains one independent
clause and at least one dependent clause, that is separated by a comma) within the book
‘Stolen Girl’, and determine the independent clauses and dependent clauses, using
familiar rules:

• Independent clauses are complete sentences because they have a subject and verb and
express a complete thought.
• Dependent clauses cannot stand alone because they do not express a complete thought—
even though they have a subject and a verb

EXAMPLES FROM THE BOOK (independent clause is underlined)

• While her mother was buying flower, a man in uniform came and dragged the girl to his
• She dreams she is a star, shooting through the dark night
• In the early morning silence, her thoughts wander back to her life before she came to this


Investigate how complex sentences can be used in a variety of ways to elaborate, extend
and explain ideas (ACELA1522) (SCSA, 2016)

ACTIVITY – Separate the different ideas in complex sentences

Identify the ideas in the independent- and dependent clauses of complex sentences from
the book ‘Stolen Girl’, and manipulate the sentences into simple sentences (has one
independent clause), to express the different ideas from one complex sentence in two or
more simple sentences. This will help students to understand how complex sentences
combine different ideas in one sentence.


• She dreams her mother is waiting at the gate, wearing her best dress
• She dreams her mother is waiting at the gate. Her mother is wearing her best dress.
• While her mother was buying flower, a man in uniform came and dragged the girl to his
• A man in uniform came and dragged the girl to his car. Her mother is buying flowers.
• In the early morning silence, her thoughts wander back to her life before she came to this
• Her thoughts wander back to her life before she came to this place. It was early in the
morning. Everything was quiet.


Understand how ideas can be expanded and sharpened through careful choice of verbs,
elaborated tenses and a range of adverb groups/phrases (ACELA1523) (SCSA, 2016)

ACTIVITY 1 - Find well-fitting verbs (Department of Education, 2013)

Students will be given a list of phrases including well-fitting verbs, from the book
‘Stolen Girl’. The phrases will be written twice, however, the second version of the
phrase will contain a less suiting verb for the situation. Students will try to explain why
those verbs fit well in the context, or do not suit the situation, how they add meaning,
and what kind of emotions the verbs express.


• She wakes to the sound of the bell ringing and stumbles out of bed vs. She wakes to
the sound of the bell ringing and gets out of bed
• Stumbles out of bed implies that the girl is still tired, it might still be very early in the
morning. It also implies that the girl must get up, e.g. for breakfast, because otherwise she
would probably choose to stay in bed until she is a bit more awake
• While her mother was buying flour, a man in uniform came and dragged the girl to his
car vs. While her mother was buying flour, a man in uniform came and asked the
girl to come with him to his car
• The verb ‘dragging’ implies that the girl did not go with the man voluntarily, instead she
was forced to get into his car. It also implies, that the girl was struggling to escape, and
wanted to run back to her mother, however, the man did not let go of her and continued to
drag her to his car.

ACTIVITY 2 – Find adverbial phrases and sort them into different categories

Students will look for different adverbial phrases in the book ‘Stolen Girl’. After
writing down a list of adverbial phrases, students will sort them into different categories


Where When How

‘In the school-room’, she ‘One hot and dusty day’, ‘Pulling a chair to the
works out how many steps they walked into town. cupboard’, she unhooks the
to the river, … key and makes her way to the
‘In the mornings’, they are door.
‘On the way home’, they taught how to read and
would collect sugarbag write. ‘With a deep breath’, she
honey from the eucalyptus turns the key in the lock.
Investigate how vocabulary choices, including evaluative language can express shades of
meaning, feeling and opinion (ACELA1525) (SCSA, 2016)

ACTIVITY – Find words that add emotion to the text

Students will read the book and write down any sentences/phrases, that seem to add
emotion to the situation, and that help us visualise what the girl is feeling in that
moment. Once students finished reading and writing down phrases/words, they will
discuss how individual words add meaning/emotion to the text


• ‘Her thoughts wander back to her life before she came to this place.’
• The girl is homesick, wants to go back to where she is from and where she feels safe and
like she belongs. She doesn’t seem to feel comfortable in her new home at all and simply
calls her new home ‘this place
• ‘The older girls warn her … ‘
• Indicates a dangerous situation, and shows that the girl needs to be careful about what she
is doing in the camp.
• ‘The girls eat their breakfast of bread and milk and no-one talks.’ vs. ‘They used to
sit on the veranda of their corrugated-iron house with a huge yard that seemed to stretch
to the sun, eating damper thick with golden syrup and sweet milky tea’
• This shows the difference between her new ‘home’ and her real home in the Indigenous
community. Earing breakfast in the camp is described as a very strict and tense routine,
while eating breakfast in her real home is described with positive words, that indicate
happy memories



Make connections between students’ own experiences and those of characters and
events represented in texts drawn from different historical, social and cultural
contexts (ACELT1613) (SCSA, 2016)
ACTIVITY – How would you feel?

Students will read the book and will afterwards discuss how the girl and her family feel
during different situations. Afterwards, students will share their own experiences,
where they might have felt similar emotions.


Discuss the following situations:
• while the girl is being dragged away into the car, by the white man
• when the girl takes her first step out of the door towards home
• when the girl is being shouted at for using her own language
• when the older girls tell the girl that she ‘won’t be going home ever again’


Analyse and evaluate similarities and differences in texts on similar topics, themes or
plots (ACELT1614) (SCSA, 2016)

ACTIVITY – Compare the story of ‘Stolen Girl’ to the book ‘Follow the Rabbit-Proof
Fence’ by Doris Pilkington (Winch et al, 2014)

• Do the characters of the stories experience similar emotions and situations?

• What are the differences in the plots of the stories?
• Is one text more emotional/dramatic/realistic/intense in how the scenarios are described?
• Is the language more complex in one of the books? Does this make the book harder to
• Is more descriptive or figurative language used in one of the stories?
• Can you identify some underlying concepts about Indigenous communities in the books?
Identify, describe, and discuss similarities and differences between texts, including those
by the same author or illustrator, and evaluate characteristics that define an author’s
individual style (ACELT1616) (SCSA, 2016)

ACTIVITY – Compare the books ‘Stolen Girl’ and ‘The old Frangipani Tree at Flying
Fish Point’ and try to Identify Trina Saffioti’s individual writing style (Department of
Education, 2013)

Students will read both books and discuss similarities and differences about:

• The plots of the stories

• Where the stories take place
• What cultures/communities are involved in the stories?
• Are the stories written in the same writing style?
• Are similar language features used in the books?
• What characteristics do the characters in the stories have?



Select, navigate and read texts for a range of purposes, applying appropriate text
processing strategies and interpreting structural features, for example table of contents,
glossary, chapters, headings and subheadings (ACELY1712) (SCSA, 2016)

ACTIVITY – Identify the book’s structural features and compare it to other books

Students will identify the structural features of the book ‘Stolen Girl’, and explore what
structural features are missing, that can be found in other books:

• The appendix
• The preface
• The title page
• The table of contents
• The glossary
• The index
• The bibliography


Analyse strategies authors use to influence readers (ACELY1801) (SCSA, 2016)

ACTIVITY – Identify strategies the author and illustrator used to add emotion to the book
(Winch, et al, 2014)

Students will read the book and discuss the different strategies the author and
illustrator used to express emotion through the text, to engage the reader with the
concept of the ‘Stolen Generation’, and to make the reader develop sympathy for the
little girl that got taken away from her family and culture

• The author used emotional language to describe different scenarios

• The illustrator drew slightly abstract, but emotional pictures that represented what is
happening in the story, and what the girl might feel like
• The illustrator used earthy colours in the pictures, that resemble indigenous art, and help
the reader to engage with the Indigenous culture

Department of Education. (2013). First Steps - Reading Resource Book. (3rd ed)

Retrieved From: literacy/

Winch, G., Johnston, R., March, P., Ljungdahl, L. and Holliday, M. (2014). Literacy:

Reading, writing and children’s literature. (5th ed.) Melbourne: Oxford University


School Curriculum and Standards Authority. (2016). English v8.1. Retrieved From: