Text types: Recounts

Text structure


A storyteller usually begins a recount by orienting the listener or reader to the events. This is done by introducing what and who the recount is about and where and when it happened. At this stage the storyteller also usually shows the listener or reader that the events are relevant or interesting.

We will call this stage the ORIENTATION.

Next the storyteller recounts what happened by telling about the events one after the other in the sequence in which they happened so that the listener or reader can follow them easily. The storyteller also puts in comments, feelings, opinions and reactions to show the listener or reader the significance of the events.

We will call this stage the RECORD OF EVENTS.

Some recounts end when the storyteller tells about the last event in the record of events. Often, however, the storyteller rounds off the story by making a link back to the orientation.

We will call this stage the RE-ORIENTATION.

Sometimes the storyteller finishes off a recount with an evaluation of the whole experience.

We will call this stage the CODA. Note

Here are the four main stages of a recount text:

ORIENTATION (introducing what, who, where and when)
RECORD OF EVENTS (telling what happened in a chronological sequence) 
RE-ORIENTATION (rounding off the recount by linking back to the orientation) 

CODA (an optional evaluation of the whole experience)

If students learn how recounts are organised, they will be able to interpret and compose similar texts. Students can learn a lot about the organisation and language of recounts by analysing the text structure of sample texts.

Analysing the text structure of a sample recount

There are four stages to the sample recount, My day out at Ocean Park.

The ORIENTATION stage introduces:

what the recount is about (a day out at Ocean Park)
who the recount is about (the storyteller, Lara and Sophia)
where the events happened (Ocean Park - beginning at the entrance)
when the events happened (yesterday)

The RECORD OF EVENTS stage tells what happened. The storyteller recounts the events one at a time in chronological sequence. Here is an outline of the events:

EVENT 1: went on cable car to the high land
EVENT 2: went on the Flying Swings
EVENT 3: saw the marine show
EVENT 4: went on the Dragon roller coaster and the Crazy Galleon pirate ship
EVENT 5: went on the Eagle
EVENT 6: went on the Raging River
EVENT 7: went on the Space Wheel
EVENT 8: went on the Mine Train
EVENT 9: saw the pandas
EVENT 10: saw the high diving

This recount has a RE-ORIENTATION which rounds the story off back at the entrance where the story began.

This recount also has a CODA in which the storyteller evaluates the whole day at Ocean Park.

To see the original text, click here

To see an analysis of the text structure of the recount My day at Ocean Park, click here: Analysis

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