A knowledge and understanding of genre has a role to play in both reading and writing.
What is genre?
- Genre refers to types of writing that address different purposes. Examples of different types of genre include: Poetry, fiction (and the subtypes of fiction such as fantasy, science fiction, folktales and mystery), non-fiction (and the subtypes of non-fiction such as biographies, reports and manuals) and drama.
- Genres refer to conventional forms developed over time.
- Each genre has a different organisational structure.
- Each genre has specific linguistic and syntactic expectations.
Why is a knowledge of genre important in reading?
- A knowledge of the genre provides readers with specific expectations about what they are reading. It gives them a specific schemata about the purpose and organisation of the text.
- An understanding of text structure supports the reader’s comprehension because they are better able to predict the content and ask questions and therefore better monitor their understanding.
- An understanding of the genre assists with organising ideas and making summaries.
- Consequently, it improves critical reading and evaluation of the text.
Why is a knowledge of genre important in writing?
- The knowledge of genre obtained from reading supports planning, drafting and evaluation of writing because students can match their writing to texts they have read in the same genre.
- An understanding of genre helps provide a purpose for writing.
- It also assists in varied word selection.
- An understanding of genre in writing, in turn, assists in identifying genre when reading texts.
To effectively use genre in writing, students need to:
- Determine the form of their writing.
- Define the topic.
- Determine their audience (which in turn influences the tone and language used).
- Decide on point of view.
- Determine the purpose of their writing (persuade, inform, entertain/convey an experience, etc.) as this will inform genre and consequently the organisation of the text.
From a teaching perspective, students need to be:
- Explicitly taught the structure and elements of different genres.
- Provided with a framework for each genre.
- Given opportunities to compare and contrast texts written in different genres.
- Able to observe the process and then practise orally before writing.
Provide a chart for students to complete after reading:
|Theo Le Sieg||Wacky Wednesday||Entertain||Poetry||Fiction||Short sentences Rhyming Verses Repetition of ‘wacky’|
Provide a rubric for students to evaluate their writing so they can refine their writing:
|PERSUASIVE WRITING RUBRIC||Element not provided||Element is there but not clear||Element is clear and present|
|– Hook to catch reader’s interest|
|– Outline of essay|
|– Each paragraph clearly defined|
|– Topic sentence|
|– Relevant example|
|– Link sentence|
|– Restatement of stance|
|– Restatement of key arguments|
|– Interesting concluding sentence|
|– Language & tone matches audience|
|– Powerful verbs|
|– Emotional adjectives & adverbs|
|– Figurative language (similes, metaphors)|
|– Power of three|
|– Facts & expert opinions|
|– Repetition, exaggeration, rhetorical questions|
Links to a large range of resources to teach genre
Examples of different sub-types of genres
|Formal academic essay||Poems – narrative, imagist, ode, free verse, sonnet, haiku||Editorial||Letters to politicians, friends, person in authority parent|
|Short story||Informal essay||Journal||Exploratory essay|
|Epitaph||News story||Letter to the editor||Diary|
|Interview||Thank you note||Memo||Announcement|
|Report||Biography||Thumbnail sketch||Personal reaction|
|Children’s book||Telegram||Text message||Social media post|
|Response/rebuttal||Fact sheet||Case study||Scientific report|
|Movie/TV script||Documentary||Docu-drama||Theatre play|
|Cartoon||Press release||Summary||Learning log|
|Fairy tale||Detective story||Fantasy||Science fiction|
Philippakos, Z. (2021). Building a better foundation for writing ages 4 to 8 webinar, International Literacy Association.