Saturday, October 17, 2015

Genre! In Chart Form!

Here's a fun educational tool from Eastern Illinois University I found the other day. It's meant to be a guide for teachers of young schoolchildren given the picture book examples and early childhood education references.

Interesting tidbits:

  • The section on Traditional Literature and Folk Tales is very well developed. It divides Myths from Legends from Fables, Fairy Tales from Tall Tales, and even offers a few sample character names and opening sentences. This chart is probably at its highest value for someone looking to classify traditional literary sources such as these. A curious inclusion is Proverbs, which comprise the only one-liners of the whole list. Why adages and idioms are omitted, I have no idea.
  • Personal Narratives are listed quite fully. Letters and Postcards are distinguished, and Collective Biographies receive a category separate from Individual Biographies. This chart is highly useful for this category as well.
  • Under "Informational Books", there are not only essays but also Process Explanations. I don't typically encounter them in literary contexts, so I'm impressed by the thoroughness EIU demonstrates in including them here. I see them more on airplanes than in libraries.
  • The recommendation for Fantasy - and not even Animal Fantasy - is a Redwall book! The Great Redwall Feast isn't exactly the series's flagship entry, but as far as picture books go, I'll take it. Science Fiction under the Fantasy umbrella is sure to anger some SF purists.
  • There isn't much emphasis on poetry or drama. For all the prose genres, fictional and non-fictional, there's only "Poetry" with no subdivisions. Medieval sonnets and Jack Prelutzky now have much more in common than they used to, I suppose.
  • "Speech, Drama, and Reader's Theater" are all lumped together. "Reader's Theater" appears to be an inverse of closet drama, which isn't mentioned anywhere. (i.e. Reader's theatre is an adaptation of a story that is specifically meant to be acted out in front of an audience) That all of this goes in the same category as, say, Budd Dwyer's last speech, is confusing.

I'd change a few things near the end but certainly leave most. For anyone trying to explain the morass of genre to someone unfamiliar with literature, or to settle a bar bet, this schematic is pretty effective. It keeps organized too.

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