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Lesson Plan

Genre Study: A Collaborative Approach

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Genre Study: A Collaborative Approach

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Recurring Lesson
Estimated Time Introduction: 45 minutes; thereafter: 45 minutes per session
Lesson Author

Lisa Storm Fink

Lisa Storm Fink

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



Students explore literary genres by completing a series of genre studies, each spanning two to three weeks. The concept of genres is introduced through class discussion, during which students determine the main characteristics of various genres. Students are then assigned a genre to explore, and they use printable bookmarks to record evidence that their book fits the assigned genre. Finally, students complete a book review and share summaries of the books they read with their classmates. Conducting studies of multiple genres can help students to achieve a better understanding of their characteristics.

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Genre Study Book List: This list offers numerous book suggestions organized by genre.

Mystery Bookmark: Students use this printable bookmark, one of a set customized by genre, to record evidence that the book they are reading fits into the mystery genre.

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As children complete their schooling, it is important that they are exposed to and immersed in many kinds of print and many types of literature. A genre study is one way to accomplish that.

As Smith wrote in 1991, "The analysis of different types of literature promotes cognitive development because it gives students an opportunity to apply similar skills and strategies, such as identifying themes discussed in one genre-fiction, for example-to other genres like poetry, reports, descriptive pieces, and plays."

Research also shows that the more experience students have in reading different genres, the more successful they will be in writing in different genres.

Further Reading

Smith, Carl B. 1994. Helping Children Understand Literary Genres. Bloomington, IN: ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading English and Communication


Hansen, Jane, and Vivian Vasquez. "Genre Studies" School Talk 7.3 (April 2002).

Read more about this resource


Short, Kathy G., Jean Schroeder, Gloria Kauffman, and Sandy Kaser (Eds). "Explorations of Genre." Language Arts 81.3 (January 2004).

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