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Let's Get Ready to Write: Literary Genres

Context for this Lesson


GRADE LEVEL: 7th Grade

TOPIC: Identifying genres


  • What techniques help us understand and remember the characteristics of specific literary texts/genres?
  • How can selecting a genre for writing help us make choices about how we convey meaning to our reader?



§110.19. English Language Arts and Reading, Grade 7

Knowledge and Skills:

  • (3) Reading/Comprehension of Literary Text/Theme and Genre. Students analyze, make inferences and draw conclusions about theme and genre in different cultural, historical, and contemporary contexts and provide evidence from the text to support their understanding. Students are expected to:
    • (A) describe multiple themes in a work of fiction;
    • (B) describe conventions in myths and epic tales
  • (14) Writing/Writing Process. Students are expected to:
    • (A) plan a first draft by selecting a genre appropriate for conveying the intended meaning to an audience, determining appropriate topics through a range of strategies.

Theatre TEKS 7th grade

Knowledge and Skills:

  • (7.2) Creative expression/performance. The student interprets characters, using the voice and body expressively, and creates dramatizations. The student is expected to:
    • (A) demonstrate safe use of the voice and body;
    • (B) define characters by what they do, what they say, and what others say about them;
    • (C) select movements and dialogue to portray a character appropriately; and
    • (D) create and improvise collaboratively

Common Core State Standards

Reading Standards for Literature Grade 7

Key Ideas and Details: 

  • 1. Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • 2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.

Writing Standards Grade 7

Produciton and Distribution of Writing: 

  • (5) With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1–3 up to and including grade 7 on page 53.)

Today we are going to review the literary genre’s we’ve been learning about to prepare you for an upcoming writing assignment. First let’s take some time to remember the specifics of the literary genres.


1. Leader begins activity by dividing the group into smaller groups with between 5-6 members.

2. Each group is given a large piece of blank paper and a set of markers and assigned a literary genre. (myths, epic tales, autobiography, poetry, nonfiction, fiction)

3. Groups are asked to explore that genre by generating a list of related words each of which begin with a different letter of the alphabet e.g., the theme is museum and the group writes down the words: amazing, balanced, curator, docent, educational . . . Participants are encouraged to note their A-Z words in a graffiti style. Groups may opt to use images instead of words where appropriate. Once the groups are finished, each group selects 5-7 words that they would like to share with the other groups.

Possible side-coaching: “Don’t feel that you need to write a neat list of words; this is graffiti, how might some words have more significance on your page than others.” “Try to have everyone scribe a few words; make sure every person’s opinion is represented somewhere on your page.”

4. Come back together to share and process.

Reflection : To each group: What 5-7 words stand out to your group the most on your paper? Why? How do they represent the genre you were assigned?  To all: Are there specific words/phrases that appear on multiple pages? Why do you think this happened? How are these genre's different? How are they similar?


Transition: Great! Now we’re going to imagine what it might be like to BE a literary genre. Let’s try it out.

HOTSEATING [15-20 minutes]

Genre’s can include: myths, epic tales, autobiography, poetry, nonfiction, fiction, science fiction, drama

1. Stay with same groups from Graffiti Alphabet. Explain that we are now going to explore literary genres by answering questions in the manner of the genre you were given for the last activity. Give an example- iI I asked you what you did ate for breakfast this morning and your genre was poetry, how might you answer?

2. Use the Graffiti Alphabet as nameplate for each group. Give them 5 minutes to fill out/ consider the questions on the worksheet at the end of this document. Explain we are now going to step into role as guests on a talkshow. “I will be the talkshow host, and you all will play characters who speak in the manner of the genre you have explored. You can use your real name or a made-up name. I have a series of questions here (on notecards) from our show viewers. When I ask you a question, make sure you offer your answer in the style of your genre. Does anyone have any questions?”

Going into role in 3, 2, 1... “Good morning everyone and welcome to American Challenger. I’m your host X and boy do we have a special episode for you today. We have brought together some of Texas’s leading experts in literary genres to play our Challengers. They have agreed to a challenge from us: they will talk to us today about themselves, but answering only in the manner of an assigned literary genre. This is one of the toughest challenges we’ve had yet, but we’re sure they can live up to the challenge.We’ve been collecting questions from our viewers online, and a few of those questions will be on our list today. Let’s get started.”

Questions for Facilitator:

Please tell us your names and where you are from.

What do you like to do in your free time?

What are some of your favorite foods?

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Why?

What’s your favorite school subject and why?

That’s all we have time for today, folks, but we’ll be back next week with a new American Challenger you won’t want to miss. Have a great night. And step out of role in 3, 2, 1... 




D: What did you notice about the answers of each genre? Were there answers that surprised you? 

A: What did you think really characterized the genre?

R: If we had to describe each genre represented in a phrase or one sentence at most, what would it be?