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Composing a text for an audio guide

Students will research an artwork from the State Library collection before writing text for an audio guide which conveys information about the painting and its creator and explains why it was chosen by the student.
Stimulus #1: 
New Government House, 1841 by Conrad Martens
Stimulus #2: 
Picnic at The Rocks, 1952 by Roland Wakelin
Stimulus #3: 
Elizabeth Macarthur undated by unknown artist
Stimulus #4: 
The mock trial, 1812 by Francis Greenway
Stimulus #5: 
Patterdale landscape, Tasmania, 1833–34 by John Glover
Stimulus #6: 
Gold diggings, Ararat, c 1858 by Edward Roper
Stimulus #7: 
Burdekin House, Macquarie Street, Sydney, undated by Portia Geach
Stimulus #8: 
The South Australian Alps, undated by George Edwards Peacock
Stimulus #9: 
Quong Tart, c 1880s by unknown artist
Stimulus #10: 
Kids' audio guide

Text type

  • Informative; audio guide

Background information for teachers

Students are learning to:

  • use research data from print and digital sources
  • compose, edit and present a multimedia informative text

Students will be successful when they can:

  • identify and use a range of reliable sources to gather information
  • plan, compose and edit a multimedia informative text



Paintings collection at the State Library of NSW

The State Library of NSW has over 100,000 paintings in its collection and over 300 of these are on permanent display in the exhibition galleries. The selected works range from the 1790s to today and feature portraits of the extraordinary and the everyday, rare and recent views of Sydney and the harbour, suburban streetscapes and burgeoning rural townscapes.

Kids’ audio guide 

In museums across the world, audio guides allow visitors to access further information about the items on display. At the State Library of NSW the Paintings from the Collection exhibition offers an audio guide made ‘by kids for kids’, developed by a group of 10 children from Summer Hill Public School. The students first visited the Library to see the many paintings on display in our galleries and chose the one artwork they found most interesting. They researched their chosen work and its creator over several weeks before writing a script and recording themselves reading their scripts aloud. Visitors to the exhibition can listen to the final recordings of the 10 children as they each respond to the painting they selected.

Recording equipment and software

This learning activity can be completed using any device capable of recording audio. Without any additional equipment, an iPad or phone can easily be used to record sound using the Voice Memos app, which is usually pre-installed on your device. Your IT team can help find the best equipment available at your school, such as external microphones or standalone recording equipment including Rodecaster Pro or Zoom. Before asking students to complete their final recording, make sure you are familiar with how to start, stop and save a recording. Instructions for a variety of programs can be found below:

After you have made the recording, you can use software to edit the audio file. Ask your school’s IT team for any paid software the school may already own or use the free software Audacity. Instructions for a variety of programs can be found below:

Student Activities

Unpacking a painting

Students examine the selection of 10 paintings from the State Library of NSW's Paintings from the Collection exhibition.

Number of set tasks: 2


A student:

  • composes, edits and presents well-structured and coherent texts EN3-2A


Understand and apply knowledge of language forms and features

  • plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, choosing and experimenting with text structures, language features, images and digital resources appropriate to purpose and audience (ACELY1704, ACELY1714)

Respond to and compose texts

  • use increasingly complex research data from print and digital sources to compose short and sustained texts
  • assess the reliability of resources, including digital resources, when researching topics 

In each year students must study examples of:

  • media, multimedia and digital texts.

Across a stage of learning, the selection of texts must give students experience of:

  • a wide range of factual texts that present information, issues and ideas
  • an appropriate range of digital texts, including film, media and multimedia.

Learning Across the Curriculum

  • Critical and creative thinking 
  • Information and communication technology capability 
  • Literacy