Teaching the Unfamiliar Genre: A Resource for Middle/Secondary Teachers


Welcome to the Unfamiliar Genre Wiki! On this wiki, you will find resources for teaching a variety of genres to students in grades 4-12. All resources and materials have been carefully developed by a group of highly-qualified, creative middle-grades and secondary-level English language arts teachers.

What does “unfamiliar genre?” mean?

According to Cathy Fleisher and Sarah Andrew-Vaughn, authors of Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone: Helping Students Navigate Unfamiliar Genres, studying and composing unfamiliar genres "...has given our students a new understanding of and appreciation for the complexity and beauty of the act of writing" (2009, p.13). Quite simply, an "unfamiliar genre" is a genre with which a student feels uncomfortable creating. For example, some students may lack confidence in composing particular academic genres (e.g., research paper, analytical essay, etc.). Other students, however, may feel uncomfortable creating digital genres (e.g., blogs, wikis, text messages, etc.). A student's academic background, learning style, and comfort with the writing process in general determine which genres he/she may consider to be familiar or unfamiliar.

What resources will I find on this wiki?

Each wikipage contains:
  • An introduction to the genre (definition, audience, purpose, conventions)
  • Annotated bibliography of 3-5 samples of the genre OR links to 3-5 samples the genre.
  • Bibliography of 3-5 teaching resources OR links to 3-5 teaching resources
  • 2 Instructional Activities aligned to Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS)
  • Student Assessment Tool
  • 1 additional resource

Unfamiliar Genre Teaching Pages:

Short Stories by Aline Andre
Romantic-Era Sonnets by Kristi Pritchett
Shakespeare’s Comedies by Trey Yarbrough
Sonnets by Dionne Tyson
Free Verse Poetry by Latorri West
Historical YA Fiction by Antron Murray
Southern YA Literature by Draveious Hurston-White
Astronomy by Kelsey Williams
Graphic Novels by Rebecca Brown
Biography by Brittany Elliott
Mythology by D’Andrea Townes
Historical Non-Fiction by Tracy Green
YA Fantasy Fiction by Adam Kilcrease
Feature Articles by Kathryn Calmes
American Modernism & Hemingway by Mary Collins