Literary genres worksheets & teaching resources

The actual word “genre” is rarely referred to in the Common Core Standards. Even so, explicitly teaching literary genres is beneficial at all grade levels. Unfortunately, many high school curriculums omit genre instruction for various reasons…time constrains, overlap of curriculum with middle school, the seemingly elementary nature of the nội dung, etcetera.

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Even though students are introduced to lớn the concept of genres very early in school, my high school students usually don’t remember them.

For instance, as a part of my culminating study for my Reading degree, I organized a genre unit. At the outmix of this unit, a pre-demo revealed that the vast majority of my ninth graders couldn’t tell me the difference between realistic fiction & historical, between science fiction & fantasy, between a myth và a legover, or between narrative sầu nonfiction và informational texts.

Just lượt thích with grammar, writing skills, and reading comprehension, a genre study is not something that can be mastered when taught in isolation during the course of one grade level’s ELA curriculum.

Bridging Literacies.

Explicitly teaching students khổng lồ recognize specific genres helps khổng lồ bridge the gap between literacies students see at home page và at school.

At home page, students are not necessarily exposed lớn the same types of texts as they are at school. For example, in many homes, students are more likely to lớn be exposed to lớn game-based texts, letters, e-mails, & picture books.

At school, students might interact with academic-style texts, including short stories, novels, textbooks, và articles. Educators can bridge the literacy gap between trang chủ và school by validating the texts they see at home and teaching students khổng lồ analyze all genres of literature…even a grocery danh sách, a recipe, or a coupon!

Active Reading.

Teaching literary genres helps students to lớn be active readers.

For example, if I told you that we were going lớn read a text called “The Superbowl Dolphin,” it would be challenging for you khổng lồ make predictions about it without understanding that it’s an article & that an article is a nonfiction text. Upon hearing this title, many of my own freshmen who at the beginning of the year cannot define “article” for me would assume we were about lớn read a fictional story. As a result, their predictions would be uneducated, and monitoring them would be hard, as would be comprehension in general.

If we want students lớn be active readers who engage with the text in meaningful ways, we need to lớn give them the tools to lớn understand what type of text they will be reading.


Examining text features & content khổng lồ determine genre is an avenue of teaching students khổng lồ analyze a text. Analysis is written all over the Common Core Standards and is an increasingly important skill in 21st Century teaching.



Many students don’t appreciate a text because they don’t understand the characteristics of the genre(s) in which it fits. For example, when I teach my students about the story of The Odyssey, we spend a considerable amount of time learning about myths and legends. I haven’t always done this.

When I first taught the epic poem, I just told students, This is a myth. My inexperience with teaching high school students told me that ninth graders should understand what that means. But many of them didn’t. As a result, they were confused about sea monsters lượt thích Scylla & Charybdis. Are they real? Do people actually believe sầu this stuff? This is so weird. Obviously, they didn’t have sầu an understanding that myths are written to lớn explain something, that they represent beliefs of a culture, & that they often involve sầu supernatural elements.

Teaching students not only what genres exist but also teaching them khổng lồ analyze texts to determine their genre ultimately puts them in a position to appreciate the literature they are reading.


Ultimately, we want our students to be more educated when confronting texts in real life. If we teach them to lớn identify, analyze, và recognize various genres in school, they will be more prepared to lớn bởi vì so on their own outside of the classroom.

As the book whisperer, Donalyn Miller, writes, “As part of their education as readers, it is necessary for students to learn the common language that readers speak when discussing và investigating books. I frame instruction và discussions all year long around genre, the formal categorization of books” (p. 88).


If students understand the genre they are reading, they can, in turn, better navigate and utilize the text features. This concept can & should be taught in ALL classes, not just ELA.

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Students should be familiarized with the genres they will encounter in a course, và teachers should give explicit instruction regarding familiar text features that accompany that genre. Textbooks? Magazine articles? Periodicals? Each has quality và important text features that will aid the intended audience in fully comprehending the passage.

Writing Benefits.

It should come as no surprise that teaching genres improves a student’s confidence when it comes khổng lồ responding to lớn prompts. Genres of writing are not much different than those of reading. We ask students to write expository, narrative sầu, argumentative sầu, & analytical pieces, for example. If students understvà and can analyze different genres when they read them, they will better be able to lớn approach these prompts from an author’s standpoint.


If you’re looking for practical approaches for teaching literary genres, here are some avenues I’ve sầu found successful.

First, determine the terminology.

The best approach is to begin by determining the terms you want to lớn cover.

You can use a pre-thử nghiệm to lớn identify misconceptions & areas of weakness, but I enjoy having a discussion with students while they take introductory notes on the genres we will explore. During the discussion, I ask them to lớn give examples of their favorite books, stories, and movies that fall inkhổng lồ each category & khổng lồ explain the characteristics of the work that allow it khổng lồ be classified as such. Through this discussion, I’m able khổng lồ decide which genres students have sầu already mastered, which they are developing an understanding about, & which we need to study more closely.

When choosing genres, consider the grade cấp độ and ability level of your students. Freshmen might need to lớn begin with the basics, lượt thích historical fiction, narrative nonfiction, and dystopian literature, but advanced juniors & seniors could study eras of literature, like Romanticism, Victorian, và Renaissance.

Then, select a format.

Next you’ll want khổng lồ select an approach (or multiple approaches) for how you want to lớn address the terms. Do you want to cover the genres in one unit? Would it work better if you covered them over the span of the year? What vehicle will you use?

Some ideal options include reader’s worksiêu thị, literature circles, independent reading programs, book clubs, multi-genre projects, bell ringers, and mini lessons paired with texts already embedded in the curriculum.

No matter the format, I have sầu experienced success by beginning with direct instruction & following with whole class identification và analysis, which slowly progresses to similar small group activities, and finally individual mastery.

Finally, decide upon practice approaches.

It’s feasible lớn talk about and analyze genre with every single text we read. (Romeo & Juliet? Romantic tragedy. Play. The Odyssey? Epic Poem. Myth. To Kill a Mockingbird? Classic. Historical Fiction. Coming-of-Age. Scholastic Scope? Magazine. Nonfiction. Informational text.) Even so, discussion about course texts is not the only vehicle to allow students lớn teach literary genres. Here are a few ideas to lớn make practice engaging when teaching literary genres:

1. Play 3 Truths & a Lie.

Have sầu each student write 4 statements about genres on a piece of paper, three being truths, & one being a lie. (For example: 1) Realistic fiction could actually happen, but it hasn’t. 2) Fantasy involves science & công nghệ. 3) Dystopian novels generally involve sầu themes of oppression. 4) Informational texts fall under the umbrella category of nonfiction.) After students have written their genre statements, you can collect them & use them as station activities, compile them as a class exercise, use them for discussions, have students pass them around the room one person at a time, etcetera. The goal would be to identify which statement is the lie.

2. Have a book sorting condemo.

Work with the school librarian lớn collect an interesting assortment of novels (this is a simple way khổng lồ get students interested in a book without letting them know your ulterior motive). Group the novels inlớn sets of 10 books. As students work with a partner khổng lồ sort the stachồng of novels inlớn categories, time them (1 or 2 minutes is plenty of time). The goal is lớn ask students khổng lồ use the information on the book cover, the bachồng of the book, and the book sleeves lớn determine its genre.

3. Host a genre walk.

At the outmix of an independent reading unit, I lượt thích to lớn take students to the library so they can familiarize themselves with the layout, with the location of books, and with the book check-out & return procedures. After the librarian gives them a tour, I give sầu them a piece of paper that has several main genres listed. I ask them to lớn peruse the shelves và look for a book they might be interested in reading that would fall into each category.

4. Set them up on a blind date.

Remove the title and author from a text. You can use a few paragraphs from a short story, an excerpt from a novel, or a portion of a nonfiction text. Tell students you want them khổng lồ get to know this excerpt, as if they were trying to learn about a potential girlfrikết thúc or boyfriover (it’s just a fun analogy…you can leave this part out if you prefer). This practice activity encourages students to lớn analyze the information available in the excerpt to lớn determine possible genres that would apply. When selecting excerpts, make sure lớn choose texts that have sầu obvious traits of a particular literary genre (ex. – aliens, fairies, morals, etc.).

5. Incorporate visual texts.

My students love it when I use visual texts. They are an integral part of our modern society, & they have sầu value. One time, I showed students clips of “horror” movies (school appropriate, of course). We analyzed the films for trends. What did scary movies from the 80s have in common versus scary movies from the 2010s? Why might horror movies have sầu evolved? How have audiences changed? The students LOVED this discussion.

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Teaching literary genres is an integral part of an ELA curriculum for all grades…middle & high school included. How vị you approach genre instruction in your secondary classroom? We want lớn hear from you!


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This resource contains some of engaging activities and mini lessons I use when teaching literary genres.

Chuyên mục: literature