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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


Materials and Technology






Books from the different genres

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  • Collect books for the genre that students will explore. See the book list for suggestions.

  • Make copies of the Book Review handout and (if desired) the Genre Characteristic Handout.

  • Choose the appropriate Bookmark Template for the book that students will read, make copies, and cut out the bookmarks. Alternately, you can create your own bookmarks for the genre to be explored.

  • Familiarize yourself with background information on literary genre:
    Definition from Dictionary.com:
    Genre (noun) 1: a kind of literary or artistic work 2: a style of expressing yourself in writing [syn: writing style, literary genre] 3: a class of artistic endeavor having a characteristic form or technique.

    When teaching children, how do we define literary genres? We can say that we divide literary works into genres as a way of classifying them into particular categories. The two major categories, or genres, are Fiction (about things, events, and characters which are not true) or Nonfiction (about things, events, and people which are based on fact). From those two major categories, we can classify even further. For example, Fiction can be divided into poetry, drama (plays), or prose (ordinary writing). Those categories tell us something about the form of the work.

    Further, we also classify Fiction according to layout and style. There are picture books, which contain words and pictures, novellas or short novels, and short stories, which are much shorter than a novella.

    Finally, Fiction can be classified by content and theme. Here is where we find our common genres: adventure stories, science fiction/fantasy, mystery, horror, romance, realistic fiction, and historical fiction.

    One thing to keep in mind while teaching about genres: these categories aren't always clear-cut. You can have a crime/mystery story set in the future (science fiction) or in the past (historical fiction).

  • For more detailed information about genres of children's literature, visit Children's Genres.

  • Explore character, setting, and plot development with students in class before beginning this project. If additional resources are needed to prepare for this lesson, see the following ReadWriteThink lesson plans:

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