posted in: Reading, Writing | 0

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:

AuthorTitlePurposeGenreType/ClassificationKey Elements
Theo Le SiegWacky WednesdayEntertainPoetryFictionShort sentences Rhyming Verses Repetition of ‘wacky’

Provide a rubric for students to evaluate their writing so they can refine their writing:

PERSUASIVE WRITING RUBRICElement not providedElement is there but not clearElement is clear and present
– Hook to catch reader’s interest
– Stance
– Outline of essay
Body paragraphs
– Each paragraph clearly defined
– Topic sentence
– Explanation
– Relevant example
– Link sentence
– Restatement of stance
– Restatement of key arguments
– Interesting concluding sentence
Literary techniques
– 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

How to teach genre in upper elementary

Genre anchor chart

Writing booklet

Examples of different sub-types of genres

Formal academic essayPoems – narrative, imagist, ode, free verse, sonnet, haikuEditorialLetters to politicians, friends, person in authority parent
Short storyInformal essayJournalExploratory essay
EpitaphNews storyLetter to the editorDiary
Radio playReviewPodcastReview
InterviewThank you noteMemoAnnouncement
MonologueAnecdoteResearch paperNovel
ReportBiographyThumbnail sketchPersonal reaction
Persuasive essayRequestApplicationResume
Children’s bookTelegramText messageSocial media post
Response/rebuttalFact sheetCase studyScientific report
DemonstrationRecipePosterMaths story/problem
Future optionsManualPuzzlesNotes
Movie/TV scriptDocumentaryDocu-dramaTheatre play
CartoonPress releaseSummaryLearning log
Fairy taleDetective storyFantasyScience fiction
Advertisement-printAdvertisement-multimediaVideo clipRecipe


Philippakos, Z. (2021). Building a better foundation for writing ages 4 to 8 webinar, International Literacy Association.


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