Table of Contents

Unit 2: Planning Lessons for Informational and Argument Writing

Increasing Genre Knowledge

Time to Read

Recall that in the CCR Anchor Standards for Writing, the category “Text Types and Purposes” (Standards 1 through 3) indicates that the broad types of writing include many subgenres. Now, let’s take a few minutes to consider Anchor Standard 4:

"Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience."

Consider the importance of genre knowledge in meeting this standard.

Using Texts to Increase Genre Knowledge

The culminating writing project for the lesson introduced in the video requires that students write an article. In the video, there is no specific mention of teaching students to analyze articles written for children for the features of that genre. They gather information from articles, but they are not learning how the genre they will write – also an article – is structured and organized. That could be because the students have previously familiarized themselves with the genre and written several articles already. But what if they haven't had such practice? Why is it so important for teachers to increase students’ knowledge of the genres they are writing?

Tony Stead, educator, author, and researcher, reminds us that what teachers must do is help their students discover what varied genres look like and “the structures and features that competent writers use when writing for specific purposes.” He adds that many teachers were not taught to write a wide range of genres for varied audiences and purposes, or have little recent practice in such writing. According to Stead, “Our own limited knowledge of writing genres and how they work has made us” tentative writing models and guides for student writers (Stead, 2002).

Important Takeaway: Consider the importance of having students not only read examples of a particular genre they will write about, but also and analyze how that genre — using the language of CCR Anchor Standard 4 for Writing — is organized and structured for audience, task, and purpose.