Genre Analysis


Analyze a specific form of creative expression and use that analysis to create a new example in that form.

Instructional Purpose

To teach the structure and variations of a genre and more generally to teach that most understandable writing is based on some set of conventions. To teach a general approach to analysis and to guide observation and close reading.




Can be applied to any form of expression that can be read fairly quickly and for which there are at least a half-dozen examples accessible on the web. Can be applied not only to written and oral forms (folk tales, fairy tales, limericks, jokes, riddles, etc.) but to visual forms (editorial cartoons, propaganda posters, television ads, postage stamps).


Should not be used with forms of expression that would take too long to get through (e.g. novels). Care must be taken not to oversimplify the genre (as might happen with a rich form like haiku).


If time does not permit doing both phases, do one half or the other. That is, stop at the analysis phase and end with a class discussion of the genre. Or begin with a completed analysis and use that as the jumpoing off place for students to create a new instance of the genre.

This Design Pattern was authored by Bernie Dodge