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Reading and Analyzing Multigenre Texts
|Grades||6 – 8|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Four 50-minute sessions|
At their most basic, multigenre works are texts comprised of a variety of genres (poems, diary entries, letters, and so forth). At the same time, these works are highly sophisticated by the relationships among the sections of the text. To understand multigenre texts, students need an awareness of both their basic and sophisticated features. In this lesson plan, students develop a definition of multigenre texts by exploring a multigenre picture book, short chapter books, and, if desired, multigenre novels. They analyze several examples, identifying the different genres represented in each. Students brainstorm alone and together what they need as readers to read and understand multigenre texts successfully. Students share findings and discuss strategies needed to comprehend, and by extension to write, these texts.
Interactive Venn Diagram: Use this online tool to compare two items, such as genres of writing.
Multigenre papers are at once simple and complex. At their most basic, multigenre papers are a simple collection of texts which rely on a variety of genres. Katie Wood Ray explains in Wondrous Words:
"These texts are structured in sections written in different genres. In a single text, writers may combine sections written as letters, journal entries, interview transcripts, memoirs, phone conversations, transcripts, homework assignments, encyclopedia entries, newspaper articles, refrigerator notes, poems, short stories, etc., etc. These texts read like a menagerie of writing, but together the various genres tell a single story or build a single idea." (158)
For students reading these texts, the challenge is to navigate among the different genres, understanding them individually as well as exploring the ways that they are connected and interrelated. "Becoming a reader is a gradual process-we grow in our ability to comprehend and interpret a wide range of reading materials by making appropriate choices from among the extensive range of skills and strategies that we develop over time," according to the NCTE Position Statement on Reading. Students need the opportunity to explore multigenre texts as a part of the process of their reading development to learn and explore the strategies that weave the many different kinds of texts into a single story or idea-especially before they attempt to write multigenre texts of their own.
Romano, Tom. 2000. Blending Genre, Altering Style: Writing Multigenre Papers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Ray, Katie Wood. 1999. Wondrous Words: Writers and Writing in the Elementary Classroom. Urbana, IL: NCTE.