Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.



Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Blurring Genre: Exploring Fiction and Nonfiction with Diary of a Worm

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Blurring Genre: Exploring Fiction and Nonfiction with Diary of a Worm

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute Sessions
Lesson Author

Deborah Dean

Deborah Dean

Provo, Utah


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



This lesson provides an introduction to the use of factual information in creative writing. Students first examine texts to identify how a published author incorporates facts in fiction writing by reading and questioning the books Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Spider, and Diary of a Fly (Cronin). After conducting inquiry on their own to gather facts on a topic decided upon by the class, students use their facts to write several diary entries collaboratively, entries which will contribute to a class book modeled on the mentor texts. Finally, students peer review each other's work, and revise and edit their own writing before using the Multigenre Mapper interactive to publish their work.

back to top



Multigenre Mapper: Students can use this online tool to create original multigenre, multimodal diary entries in genres of their choice.

back to top



In the book Strategic Writing, Deborah Dean asserts the importance of inquiry to all effective writing (24). But inquiry doesn't apply only to research papers; it can provide the crucial details in engaging and entertaining fiction as well. Furthermore, using mentor texts helps students see possibilities for their own writing (60-61). Using mentor texts in the classroom helps students understand that what they read can help them as writers and can provide them with possibilities for writing-both in content and in genre.

In Genre Theory: Thinking, Writing, and Being, Dean explains how students develop sensitivity to how texts work differently when they are exposed to and work with a variety of genres. This increased sensitivity is important to students as they grow as writers. Finally, collaborative writing can "move students toward more thoughtful, sophisticated writing habits" (Dale 68). By working together on interpreting others' texts and writing their own, students develop as both writers and readers.

Further Reading

Dale, Helen. Collaborative Research on Collaborative Writing. English Journal 83.1 (January 1994): 66-70.


Dean, Deborah.  Strategic Writing: The Writing Process and Beyond in the Secondary English Classroom.  Urbana, IL: NCTE 2006.

Read more about this resource


Dean, Deborah. Genre Theory: Teaching, Writing, and Being. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2008.

Read more about this resource

back to top