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The study of genre is not an exact science. Some texts may belong in more than one genre. For example: Romeo and Juliet is a drama, a tragedy, and an Elizabethan play. The idea of genre is open to discussion and there is good reason to discuss genre. Understanding genre will help you know what to expect from a text based on its genre; it will also help you notice when an author is playing with your expectations. Wouldn’t you like to be in on the joke? First, you must learn some basics:

Main Genres and Subgenres

Some consider these to be the main genres of writing: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, and folklore. Every piece of writing can fall into one of these categories. Each main genre has a group of subgenres. Each subgenre has as set of characteristics that you must learn in order to identify them. This list does not contain all of the possible subgenres, but it should give you a pretty thorough overview.

  1. Fiction: stories that come from the author’s imagination.
    • Historical Fiction: based on a person or event from history.
    • Science Fiction: dealing with aliens, the distant future, or advanced technology.
    • Fantasy: containing monsters, magic, or other supernatural elements.
    • Realistic Fiction: a story that could have happened, but didn’t.
  2. Nonfiction: writing that is true or factual.
    • Informational Writing: provides information on a topic.
    • Persuasive Writing: attempts to influence the reader.
    • Autobiography: the story of one’s life told by oneself.
    • Biography: the story of one’s life told by another.
  3. Drama: writing that is meant to be acted on a stage (a play).
    • Comedy: has a happy ending.
    • Tragedy: ends in death and sadness.
  4. Poetry:  writing that is concerned with the beauty of language
  5. Folklore: stories handed down through speech from generation to generation.
    • Fairy Tale: a story with magic, monsters, and/or talking animals (like fiction / fantasy, but part of the oral tradition).
    • Fable: a very short story that has a moral or life lesson; usually has talking animals as main characters.
    • Myth: has gods or goddesses and often accounts for how something came to be.
    • Legend: an exaggerated story about something that may have been real at one time.
    • Tall Tale: stories set in the Wild West; the main character’s strengths, skills, or size have been exaggerated and the tone is funny.

Genre Worksheets

Genre Worksheet – Read the descriptions of the texts. Look for details that reveal the genre. Write the genre and subgenre on the lines and write a sentence explaining your answer. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 6-10
Genre Worksheet 1 | RTF
Genre Worksheet 1 | PDF
Genre Worksheet 1 | Preview
Genre Worksheet 1 | Answers
Genre Worksheet 1 | Ereading Worksheet

Genre Worksheet 2 – Choose the genre and subgenre in which the story most likely belongs. Then explain how you got your answer. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 5-9
Genre Worksheet 2 | RTF
Genre Worksheet 2 | PDF
Genre Worksheet 2 | Preview
Genre Worksheet 2 | Answers
Genre Worksheet 2 | Ereading Worksheet

Genre Worksheet 3 – Read descriptions of texts written for a variety of purposes and then determine the genre and subgenre based on the provided details. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 5-9
Genre Worksheet 3 | RTF
Genre Worksheet 3 | PDF
Genre Worksheet 3 | Preview
Genre Worksheet 3 | Answers
Genre Worksheet 3 | Ereading Worksheet

Genre Worksheet 4 – Nine practice problems challenging students to identify the genre and subgenres of a variety of texts. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 4-8
Genre Worksheet 4 | RTF
Genre Worksheet 4 | PDF
Genre Worksheet 4 | Preview
Genre Worksheet 4 | Answers
Genre Worksheet 4 | Ereading Worksheet

Genre Worksheet 5 – Nine more problems giving your students practice identifying literary genres. Students identify the genres based on details and then explain their answers. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 4-8
Genre Worksheet 5 | RTF
Genre Worksheet 5 | PDF
Genre Worksheet 5 | Preview
Genre Worksheet 5 | Answers
Genre Worksheet 5 | Ereading Worksheet

Even More Genre Worksheets

Here are five more genre worksheets.
Even More Genre Worksheets

Genre and Author’s Purpose Worksheet – Read the descriptions of the texts and determine the genre and subgenre. Then write a sentence explaining your answer. You will also identify the author’s purpose. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 5-9
Genre and Author’s Purpose Worksheet RTF
Genre and Author’s Purpose Worksheet PDF
Preview Genre and Author’s Purpose Worksheet in Your Web Browser

Identifying Genre Worksheet – Read the titles and descriptions of the stories. Identify the genre and subgenre using the word bank. Some items may repeat.
Identifying Genre Worksheet RTF
Identifying Genre Worksheet PDF
Preview Identifying Genre Worksheet in Your Web Browser

Genre Activities

Genre Lesson – Slide show lesson on genre and subgenre. Includes a review activity after the lesson.
Genre Lesson PowerPoint
Preview Genre Lesson in Your Web Browser

Create A Genre Crossword Puzzle – Create a crossword puzzle with clues for the following 20 genre related terms. File includes directions, rubric, crossword grid and clue sheet.
Create A Genre Crossword Puzzle RTF
Create A Genre Crossword Puzzle PDF
Preview Create A Genre Crossword Puzzle in Your Web Browser

Genre Newspaper Project – Create a newspaper with eight articles written in different genres and subgenres: nonfiction, historical fiction, science fiction, realistic fiction, poetry, fairytale, fable, tall tale, myth, drama, biography, autobiography, and informational writing.
Genre Newspaper Project RTF
Genre Newspaper Project PDF
Preview Genre Newspaper Project in Your Web Browser

Genre Review – Students examine books in small groups and discuss the genre and subgenres of each text. After coming to a consensus, students write their answers down on this sheet. You provide your own texts.
Genre Review RTF
Genre Review PDF
Preview Genre Review in Your Web Browser

Genre Movie Posters – Students will create three movie posters. Each poster will feature a movie from a different subgenre. They can be real movies or imagined, but each must include the following:
Genre Movie Posters RTF
Genre Movie Posters PDF
Preview Genre Movie Posters in Your Web Browser

Genre Quiz – Match the definitions to the terms and answer multiple choice questions. Available in two different test forms to help you prevent student cheating.
Genre Quiz Form A – RTF
Genre Quiz Form B – RTF
Genre Quiz Form A – PDF
Genre Quiz Form B – PDF
Preview Genre Quiz Form A in Your Web Browser
Preview Genre Quiz Form B in Your Web Browser

Genre Practice 1 – A warm-up PowerPoint review where students identify the genre and subgenre of 5 stories.
Genre Practice 1 PowerPoint
Preview Genre Practice 1 in Your Web Browser

Genre Practice 2 – PowerPoint warm up review where students identify the genre and subgenre of 5 stories.
Genre Practice 2 PowerPoint
Preview Genre Practice 2 in Your Web Browser

Genre Game – Students play as a small fish trying to get to the light house. Along the way they will eat worms, hide from bigger fish, and answer HUNDREDS of genre questions. So much fun, they won’t even notice that they’re learning!
Play Genre Piranha – Literary Genre Review Game


Common Core State Standards Related to Genre and Subgenre

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.9 – Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Expand to View All Common Core State Standards Related to Genre and Subgenre
ELA Standards: Literature

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.9 – With prompting and support, compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in familiar stories.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.9 – Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.9 – Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.9 – Compare and contrast the themes, settings, and plots of stories written by the same author about the same or similar characters (e.g., in books from a series)

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.9 – Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.9 – Compare and contrast stories in the same genre (e.g., mysteries and adventure stories) on their approaches to similar themes and topics.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.9 – Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres (e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories) in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.

View Source
Common Core Lesson and Unit Plans
Understanding Common Core State Standards


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Leave a comment


  1. justus

     /  February 4, 2020

    Wow! this is awesome, thank you so much God bless you for the wonderful insight. can I ask a question, please Which literary genre is found in Book of Leviticus?

  2. Meera

     /  July 11, 2019

    Wonderful work and so generous of you to share.

  3. raji k

     /  June 12, 2019

    Thank you very much for the wonderful website Sir.

  4. tiwen

     /  April 20, 2019


  5. marc perdomo

     /  September 7, 2017

    thank u much help

  6. John

     /  June 19, 2017

    This is the best website explaining genres, it was so good I had to say thanks

  7. Aygul Rzayeva

     /  May 20, 2017

    Hi there. I want to ask you 2 questions.1) what is genre of a story about a girl who meets the president Abraham Lincoln. 2) what is the genre of a text that explains a process. please help. you site is really perfect!

  8. Aubrey

     /  March 22, 2017

    Wow!!! This website is awesome! Cool idea! It really helped me with my Genre quest!!

  9. Caroline

     /  March 22, 2017

    Thank you for your time. I know you probably have a lot to do but you used your time to help others learn and turn out to be collage ready.

  10. Natasha

     /  March 18, 2017

    Hi there, I would like to say, it is a very good site and very helpfull. But I still have some questions. Religious books like Bible, Torah, and Quran what are they and where would they go in your list of genre or where would parable go. And what is the difference between parable and fable.

    Thank you

    • Great question. The genre of religious texts is highly debatable. I’m not going to enter that debate. I will tell you, however, that both parables and fables teach lessons with short, succinct stories. The difference is that fables generally involve talking, anthropomorphized animals and parables usually do not. Also, the moral of a fable is clearly stated at the end. Parables usually ask readers to infer the message.

      Best wishes!

  11. sindou bolé

     /  February 28, 2017

    I’m so glad after reading your course about the kinds of literature genres .It has improved my knowledge.Thank you.

  12. Jamilya

     /  February 21, 2017

    Awesome website you have created here. Thank you for your precious time and great effort for sharing all this and help so many teachers out there save their time, including myself. Thanks a million. Looking forward to more great and interesting worksheets.

  13. Pikul Suksongkram

     /  November 25, 2016

    Thank so much for your resourceful site which is very useful to improve my teaching. Awesome! Thanks again for your wonderful help.

  14. Pierre

     /  November 17, 2016

    Your website along with the materials provided here salvage my life.

  15. Jj

     /  October 10, 2016

    I love how it is so neat and clan I know what it is know

  16. Priya

     /  July 26, 2016

    A very helpful site. Always look forward to new worksheets.

  17. Devin

     /  March 24, 2016

    Thank you so much for all of these amazing resources! I teach at an “Alternative School” in Pennsylvania that services mostly at risk students. As such, the nature of our school and curriculum is very different from a normal school, but my students take to these resources very well! They’re clear enough for them to grasp, but challenging enough that they don’t feel like they’re being spoon fed (a fine line to walk with teenagers who are reading well below grade level).

  18. Amy

     /  March 9, 2016

    AMAZING resource! Thanks for sharing all of these quality materials! Also- thanks for having the integrity to realize that teachers should always support other teachers and not CHARGE them to share ideas or materials. I’ve already copied and pasted the link for your website to my colleagues, and they are just as impressed as I am!

  19. Stacey

     /  September 2, 2015

    Thank you very much for this amazing website! I work in a low income district in a public Montessori program and this will save me hours of time creating the shelfwork that our students use in the classroom! Words seem inadequate to express my gratitude…

  20. Mary

     /  March 25, 2015

    Thank you very for this web site. It has proven very helpful to me and my students. Thanks for allowing us to use them and for making them available. God bless you.

    • Thank you for your blessings. They are always appreciated. Best wishes now and in the future to you and your students.

  21. Joshua Moore

     /  January 28, 2014


    I’ve just browsed some of the activity sheets. Do you have a section where the answers are published?

    Thank you.

  22. Deanna Horsens

     /  September 8, 2013

    Jackpot! You are amazing! This is only my second year in Language Arts and you just saved me an incredible amount of time searching for lessons and materials. I cannot thank you enough!

  23. Dameon

     /  April 17, 2013

    Love this website

  24. Sherry Nelson

     /  February 28, 2013

    Mr. Morton – You are a life-saver! My co-teacher and I use this website weekly, and while we are gearing up for the ISATs, we use these to hone our skills everyday. THANK YOU for this excellent resource!

  25. Reggie Ruggie

     /  February 17, 2013

    Mr. Mortini, Your organization and content are exemplary. Thank you for sharing your work. Reggie R.

  26. Theresa Linder

     /  January 8, 2013

    Thank you so much for your worksheets. They have help me update my lessons and focus on the practice that will help my students succeed. Fantastic!

  27. Jo Garcia

     /  January 8, 2013

    Your website is awesome. I used most of your activities for my students with learning disabilities. I modified some a little bit to suit their needs, but, the fact that I have available materials ready such as the power point presentations is really great. It reduces the preparation time which enable me to do my IEPs. Thank you very much.

  28. Lakeitra Davis-Carter

     /  January 2, 2013

    Ereadingworksheets saved the day for me with the powerpoints right on target for the lessons as I introduced them

  29. Linda

     /  September 16, 2012

    This will help me so much. Thank you for sharing such an easy way to teach this subject. I will be using this in my classroom.

  30. Mrs. G

     /  September 7, 2012

    Thanks, these helpful worksheets are perfect for my ESL/ELL high school students.

  31. Allison

     /  September 6, 2012

    Love this! I jigsawed the worksheets & kids are having fun with it. I wish it had the answers- that has slowed me down a bit making sure I have them right! Thank you so much. It is great!

  32. Jackie

     /  June 15, 2012

    This looks absolutely great. I am always looking for a fresh approach in my teaching and when there is an uncomplicated, easy to use site, I get quite excited. Thank you for sharing.

  33. cammie

     /  May 15, 2012

    wow thanks soooo much this made my homwork so much easier i’m sooo not good with genre’s or subgenre’s!!!!! it took me 5 minutes on my homework.

  34. dianne

     /  April 23, 2012

    This website is amazing! Thank you for sharing; it has helped me out so much! You are awesome!

  35. Andrew

     /  March 28, 2012

    Thank you so much your website. It has been such a huge time saver and I consider it to be a valuable classroom resource.

  36. Teresa

     /  March 15, 2012

    I am totally grateful for this website. This site is more than exceptional. When I use the information from this site, I can be sure that I am using work meets the common core state standards. Additionally, I have been able to save so much time, and can focus on finding new best practices, grade more papers, etc. Thank you a thousand times a thousand ! Thank you for taking the time and effort to create such a wonderful site.

  1. Can We Just Read? » Blog Archive » Online Fun: Literary Genres
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