Looking for a way for your students to quickly and easily practice identifying different literary genres? This “print-and-go” resource – including 3 reference sheets, 32 task cards, and 2 assessment activities – is everything you need to introduce, develop, and assess your students' understanding of 15 different literary genres. Perfect for test prep, reading centers, or even a quick game of Scoot!
• 3 reference sheets
• 32 task cards
• task card answer sheet and key
• 8 self-checking “answer cards”
• 2 assessment activities
• answer key for assessment activities
About the Cards
I designed this set of resources primarily to help my fourth graders review the different literary genres featured on the NWEA Reading MAP test. When my students took the MAP test for the first time, I noticed that they had to answer many questions that required them to identify the genre that a particular passage or excerpt represented. Even though we had read a variety of genres throughout the year, lots of my students were not able to accurately identify the genres presented. Because the Common Core for fourth grade does not require students to be able to distinguish genres of a given text, instead emphasizing close readings of passages, genre characteristics always received just a cursory overview. I realized that if my students were going to be expected to be able to distinguish various genres on the MAP test, I was going to have to have some resources that could help me do just that. Even if your students do not take MAP, however, this set of materials can be a useful, comprehensive resource to a variety of literary genres.
Each card presents a short passage, around 5-8 sentences in length, and the names of the three different literary genres. Your students will simply have to read the passage and then select the genre that the passage represents. All of the cards are formatted in the same way, but I varied the terms used in the directions so that my students would be exposed to a range of academic vocabulary. The cards alternate the words “passage”, “selection”, “text” and “excerpt” when describing the sentences that the students have to read.
The cards and support materials in this set feature fifteen different literary genres. The included genres are:
• historical fiction
• fairy tale
• folk tale
• tall tale
• realistic fiction
• science fiction
The italicized genres are ones that are identified in the DesCartes Continuum
as being measured by the NWEA Reading MAP test. The numbers in parentheses indicate the RIT level ranges at which that particular genre is featured.
Please check out the preview to see all of the materials up close!
Using the Cards
These particular cards are ideal for a game of Scoot
. The passages that the students are asked to read are not very long – 5 – 8 sentences in length, at most – so your students will be able to read them in a short amount of time. Since they simply have to identify the genre of the passage, choosing one of three choices, they should be able to respond to each card and move on to the next one quickly.
You could extend the “lifespan” of the cards by playing Scoot
with half of the set at a time. Pair up your kids and they can travel from card to card with their partners. I almost always have my students work on task cards in pairs as I have found it promotes genuine conversations about the concepts we are practicing. Lay out 16 of the cards, and have your students scoot from card to card in pairs, and save the other 16 cards for a later point in the year. When I designed the cards, I made sure that each of the genres is represented on one of the cards in the first half of the set (cards 1-16) and again on one of the cards in the second half of the set. This way, if you decide to use just cards 1-16 or cards 17-32 on a given occasion, your students will have an opportunity to see at least one passage from each of the fifteen genres covered by the set.
While I designed these cards primarily to provide practice identifying literary genres, since the cards feature short passages of various types, you can reuse the cards for other purposes. For instance, you could have your students reread each passage, and instead of identifying the genre, they could:
• come up with a title or subtitle that would match the passage
• identify a suitable title for the “book” from which the passage has been excerpted
• identify a phrase or sentence to describe the passage’s main idea
• write another paragraph that fits the same genre as the passage on the card
Reinforcing the Concept
Included among the printables are several reference sheets, two of them designed as interactive resources. The first reference sheet (provided in color and grayscale) is half-page and addresses vocabulary associated with the concepts covered by the cards. This reference sheet defines the terms “literary text”, “fiction”, “non-fiction”, and “genre”.
The other references are flipbook-style foldables. There are two sheets in this style, each of which features 8 flaps. On the flaps are the names of different literary genres, the fifteen genres featured on the cards as well as the term “narrative”. Accompanying each of the flipbooks is a set of 8 characteristic cards. The students can assemble and glue the flipbook (a set of directions with photos is included that you can project for your students as a guide while they work) and then find the characteristic card that matches the genre on the flap. Once they have the matching card, they glue the characteristic card under the corresponding flap. When they are done with both flipbooks, they will have two handy references that define fifteen literary genres. These references will prove useful well after your students have finished using the cards!
There are two different versions of characteristic cards for you to use, allowing opportunities for differentiation. The first set is definition cards
, explicitly identifying the genre in a definition. For instance, the card to match “fairy tales” begins, “A fairy tale is…” The second set of characteristic cards are more challenging in that they do not explicitly mention the genre, instead providing a bulleted list of characteristics of that particular genre. [Note
: Since the lists have to fit in small text boxes, the lists are not comprehensive, instead identifying simply the major characteristics of the genres.] I think you’ll find that using these cards can be an instructional activity in and of itself. You might have the kids cut out the cards, read the over with a partner and see if they can match them all up to the correct flap without gluing them down. Then, have a group discussion during which the kids share where they placed the cards. Once everyone agrees on where the cards belong, your students can glue down all the definition cards.
Assessing Student Understanding
The two provided assessment activities can be used to evaluate student understanding of literary genres. The pairs of worksheets are formatted similarly, though the passages on each are different. You can use these activity pages in a variety of ways. You could give one as a pre-test, then teach your lesson and allow students to practice with the task cards, and then give the second worksheet as an independent post-test. You could also have the students work on the task cards, then complete one of the worksheet as guided practice with yourself, a partner, or a small group, and then give the second worksheet as an independent assessment. The worksheets could also be given as homework, center assignments, or any other purpose that fits your teaching style or classroom routines.
For more practice with the ELA concepts, please check out the other related resources I have available –
Common Core ELA Task Cards & Printables Set – Non-Fiction Text Structure
Common Core ELA Task Cards + Printables set – Narrative POV & Context Clues
Personality People, Set 1 – Common Core ELA-based character trait resources
Hoppy Homophones – Their, There, and They're task card and printables set
I hope your students enjoy these resources and are able to build their proficiency with literary genres.