> The Things You Can Read: MORE PLOT AND JOY OF BOOKS!

The Things You Can Read welcomes you and thanks you for your readership. We, here at The Things You Can Read, ask your help, if you visit our site regularly, please follow us either via email or Google Friend Connect.  Launched on June 7, 2012, our site has already attracted a great deal of attention.  One of the goals of the site is to feature reviews of Children's Picture Books, Young Adult novels and Adult Literary Fiction/Nonfiction.  A second goal for the blog is to be a resource for teachers of English and writing--with examples of student created writing, writing tips, resource links, and the opportunity to pick the brain of a seasoned English teacher.  To spice things up...every now and then, we'll also include random quotes and thoughts on education and life in general, but our ultimate goal is to reach out into the blogosphere and be a "Book Whisperer" and "Writing Whisperer" to children and adults of all ages.   Thank you for your readership.  Here is to a lifetime filled with reading and writing.

Monday, September 26, 2016


September 28 and 29, 2016

Do Now

Draw and label the plot diagram.

What Genres did you notice in the Book Shop?

Answer the following Questions:

  1. What does Ms. Brown say is the difference between sympathy and empathy?
  2. Give an example when you showed empathy toward someone.
  3. Do you agree with Ms. Brown's conclusions about empathy?


Genre Review

Literary Genres

“Genre” is the term used to describe the various types of literature.

              “Genre is a French term derived from the Latin genus, generis, meaning "type,"
              "sort," or "kind." It designates the literary form or type into which works are
              classified according to what they have in common, either in their formal
              structures or in their treatment of subject matter, or both. The study of genres
              may be of value in three ways. On the simplest level, grouping works offers us
              an orderly way to talk about an otherwise bewildering number of literary texts.
              More importantly, if we recognize the genre of a text, we may also have a better
              idea of its intended overall structure and/or subject. Finally, a genre approach
              can deepen our sense of the value of any single text, by allowing us to view it
              comparatively, alongside many other texts of its type.”
* Fiction and Nonfiction are considered the two main types of genres.

Fiction includes stories that are made up in the mind of the author.  They are “make-believe” or imaginary.  The stories are not true, although they may be based on truth, including scientific, historical, or geographic fact. 

Some of the major subdivisions of fiction are realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, science fiction and fantasy. 

·   Realistic fiction includes stories that seem like real life, and stories that could happen in today’s world.  The situations are true to life or could be true, but the characters are made up. 

o     Adventure stories are a type of realistic fiction that are exciting and usually have an aspect of peril, threat, or danger.  Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen, is an adventure story.

o     Humorous stories refer to stories that are primarily intended to entertain and amuse. Events are frequently exaggerated. An example is Hoboken Chicken Emergency.. These may also include family stories such as Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, by Judy Blume and school stories such as The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson.

·   Historical fiction includes stories that take place in the past and that are based on historical fact. Usually the setting and the events in the story are close to the facts, but the characters are made up. However, historical fiction may include real people as characters.  Examples of books with real people included among the characters are Follow the Drinking Gourd and Sign of the Beaver.  War stories and biographical fiction are types of historical fiction.

o War stories are historical fiction books set during a period of war and conflict.  Examples are Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry, and Baseball Saved Us, by Ken Mochizuki.

o Biographical fiction includes stories in which the main character is one who really lived in an earlier period of history.  The “Dear America” and “My Name Is America” series are biographical fiction stories written in a journal style. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series is another example.

·   Mystery books include detective stories, as well as various types of situations in which characters must solve a puzzle or predicament.  Usually a secret is involved in the plot.  The best known examples are theNancy Drew and Hardy Boys series.  The series that many of us grew up reading has been updated and spawn off to include titles intended for younger readers.  The A to Z Mysteries and Nate the Great are excellent for third graders.

·   Science fiction includes stories that are based on scientific fact. It can include space fiction and time travel.  In time travel and space fiction, the characters travel back and/or forward in time. In stories for children, the characters often begin in the real world, go off on their adventure, and then return to the real world.  The author tries to make the facts as realistic as possible so the reader believes the event could actually take place. Although fantastic, science fiction contains elements within the realm of possibility because of scientific discovery.  Examples are The Giver, by Lois Lowry; Running Out of Time, by Margaret Haddix; and A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle.

·  Fantasy books are make believe stories that are so fantastic that they can't possibly be true. They often include animals behaving like people. Examples are James and the Giant Peach, by Raold Dahl and The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, by Louis Carroll. 

o Fantasy animal stories are stories in which the animals are given human characteristics, such as wearing clothing, speaking or making decisions.  Examples are Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White; Babe the Gallant Pig, by Dick King-Smith and Clifford, the Big Red Dog, by Norman Bridwell.

o Ghost stories or supernatural fiction are stories in which one or more of the characters may be visitors from the spirit world.   A popular example is Wait Till Helen Comes, by Mary Hahn.  Often reluctant readers will enjoy these titles.

o Time fantasy and space fiction are fantasy stories in which the characters travel back and/or forward in time. Examples are Time Train, by Sid Fleischman and The Castle in the Attic, by Elizabeth Winthrop.

o High fantasy series are stories that are epic in nature, usually include a quest of some sort that continues over many volumes, including many that echo the Arthurian quests for truth and justice.  Series such as C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series, Lloyd Alexander’s Prydian cycle, and Jane Yolen’s "Young Merlin" series are in that category.  The Star Wars saga and the Harry Potter series are also in this genre.

·   Nonfiction books are books are factual books, and are usually classified with Dewey Decimal numbers There are some special genres within the nonfiction category, such as biography, poetry, drama, and folk or traditional literature. 

o Biographies give true facts about the lives of famous people.  In our library, biographies have 921 on the spine label, followed by the first letter of the famous person’s last name.  Collective biographiesinvolve more than one person and are labeled with 920 and the letter.  Biographies are written by persons other than the subject of the story.

o Autobiographies are books that people write about their own lives.  In our library they are included with the biographies.  Students enjoy Gary Paulsen’s two autobiographies involving rugged sports and sled dogs.

o Poetry includes single, illustrated poems (such as Paul Revere’s Ride), and collections of poetry by one poet (such as Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein) or collections of many poets’ works compiled by an editor (such as New Kid on the Block, edited by Jack Prelutsky). 

o Drama includes works written in dramatic form.  Books can include collections of short plays or book-length plays, such as the works of Shakespeare.  Our varied collection of Readers’ Theater books in the Instructional Materials room provides students with an introduction to drama and practice with fluency at the same time! 

o Folk literature or traditional literature includes stories that have been passed down from generation to generation.  Myths are stories of the gods and heroes of ancient times, and are sometimes classified in the religion section of the Dewey Decimal Classification System (292), whereas folktalesfolk riddles, nursery rhymes and Mother Goose are classified in 398.  These stories often contain elements of cultural identity, such as traditions, cultural mores, and rituals.  Sometimes, elements of religious belief of the people are included.   Epics are long stories that originate as poetry or song and that celebrate a national hero.  Beowulf and El Cid are epics, as are The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer.   Hero stories and legends include the American tall tales, such as stories of Paul Bunyan or Pecos Bill.  Tall tales usually include hyperbole, or exaggeration, about the hero.  European hero stories and legends include stories of Robin Hood and King Arthur and his knights, many including elements of mythology within the stories.

o Fables includes narration demonstrating a useful truth, especially in which animals speak as humans.  They may include the supernatural.

·   Cross-genre books are books that fall into more than one category. A book may be a mystery fantasy; or a historical fiction time travel story.  An example is The Ghost Cadet, by Alphin.  This story combines elements of fantasy and historical fiction because it includes time travel back to a Civil War battlefield

Don't Forget To Be Awesome!

I am an educator with over 25 years of teaching experience; I currently teach English in the public school system of Virginia. In my spare time, I am an avid reader. writer, reviewer, blogger, writing/art journaler, beekeeper, grad student, and MOTHER. - See more: Here

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