Lesson plan

You Compare Them! Fiction in Sub-Genre

Comparing and contrasting fiction sub-genres encourages young learners to recognize more intricate details in texts. Use this lesson plan to teach your students to compare and contrast traits within a sub-genre.
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Students will be able to compare and contrast stories within a fiction sub-genre.

(10 minutes)
  • Ask two student volunteers to act out a conversation where they both discuss how they feel they were wronged in a specific incident (i.e. shortchanged, minor car accident, or ignored in line by a clerk).
  • Allow the pair two minutes to prepare for their presentation. While they’re away, tell your class they are about to witness a personal narrative in the drama sub-genre.
  • Explain to students that the scenario they will see is a type of storytelling with a particular trait of interpersonal conflict. Ask your students to be on the lookout for expressions of conflict, shared perspectives, and differences in perspective.
  • Call the actors in, and watch the performance until it’s clear what the conflict is about and how each person has a clearly different view of the situation.
  • Start the review process by asking your class the the following questions:
    • What's the genre (fiction)?
    • What's the sub-genre (drama)?
    • What triat or characteristic from the sub-genre will you witness (interpersonal conflict)?
    • What do you need to focus on while you watch the performance (similar and different expressions of conflict)?
  • Share out details of student observations after the performance.
  • Tell your students they are going to learn to compare and contrast fiction texts in a common sub-genre, through features specific to the sub-genre.
(10 minutes)
  • As a class, brainstorm fiction sub-genre types (i.e. mystery, horror, comedy, science fiction, historical). Explain that a sub-genre is a category of fiction distinguished by particular traits or features of style.
  • Brainstorm about a pair of books in the same sub-genre, writing their names on the board and discussing similarities and differences.
  • Select a pair of texts that are fairly well-known to your students and discuss details of: genre, sub-genre and sub-genre trait (a feature specific to the genre) similarities and differences.
  • Write the following questions on the board and discuss the answers with the class:
    • How are the topics the stories discuss similar? How are the topics different?
    • How did the characters solve problems in the same way? How were the solutions different?
    • How are the themes in these stories the same? How are the themes different?
    • Which text was better at getting the point/lesson/point of view across?
  • Jot down student responses on the board in a venn diagram to highlight similarities and diferences. Students should understand that while the two texts belong to the same sub-genre and share common traits, the way the authors address the conflicts, themes, and topics varies between the two stories.
(10 minutes)
  • Hand out, review, and complete the Compare and Contrast Texts: Same Sub-Genre worksheet as a class.
  • Allow students time to discuss the worksheet in partners when they complete the worksheet.
  • Debrief as a class the worksheet answers and make sure to highlight how the themes and topics throughout the two stories are similar and different.
(10 minutes)
  • Have students turn the page over and repeat the process with two fiction texts of the same subgenre.
  • Remind students they should consider the same questions for these new stories that they used for the stories in the Guided Practice section.


  • Ask students to analyze two texts from the same subgenre that they are familiar with from previous lessons with the texts.
  • Use picture book pairs at accessible reading levels of the same sub-genre for students to compare.
  • Use one page photocopied beginning, middle, and end portions of a text pair of the same sub-genre for student comparisons.


  • Have students select their own text pair of a sub-genre.
  • Challenge students to compare book series.
  • Ask students to translate their Compare and Contrast Texts: Same Sub-Genre worksheet observations into a script for a book review presentation. Challenge them to create their own rubric for the presentation and script and justify their reasons.
  • Have students complete the Comparing Texts: Separate Traits-A-Sub-Genre and Sub-Genre Specific Traits Across Texts worksheets.
  • Cell phone recording and uploading capabilities are great for recording short student videos or audio for content review. The opening exercise in this lesson would be great to review, giving the actors a chance to reflect on their performance relative to the lesson.
  • Free video editing applications like Clips is handy and easy to use.
  • For audio recording playback options, many wireless bluetooth speaker options exist to boost sound for the entire class to hear.
(5 minutes)
  • Present short selections from two texts of different sub-genres and have your students describe three or more traits that make them incompatible for today’s comparison exercise.
(10 minutes)
  • DISCUSS: What common themes, truths, or experiences do you share with texts mentioned today and what subcategory would your experience belong to?

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