Literary Genres Lesson for Kids: Definition & Types

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Reading is a magical thing, especially when you find a book that you just can't put down. There is something for any reader to enjoy! Come and learn about some of the different literary genres in this lesson.

What is a Genre?

When you go to the movie theater, how do you decide which movie you want to see? It might depend on what kind of mood you are in. If you're in the mood to be scared, you might want to see a scary movie. If you're in the mood to laugh, you might want to see a comedy. Scary movies and comedies are just a couple examples of the many different genres of film. There are genres of literature, too. This means that they are many different kinds or categories of literature, each with their own unique tone and style.

Narrative Literature

Many books and stories are fiction, meaning they are not factual. Fiction books are made-up stories that are often produced by the author's imagination. There are many different genres that fall within the genre of fiction, including (but not limited to):

  • Fairy tales: Who doesn't love a good fairy tale? These stories are written for children and included magical characters, like fairies, elves and dragons. ''Cinderella'' and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland are examples of fairy tales.
  • Mystery: If you enjoy reading books about detectives or unsolved crimes, then you are a fan of the mystery genre. These books deal with solving a crime or a secret, like the Encyclopedia Brown series.
  • Horror: Just like there are scary movies, there are scary books. Horror books are written to scare or shock the reader, like the Goosebumps series or ghost stories you might tell around a campfire.
  • Tall tales: These stories first began in America by the settlers who lived in the wilderness. They are told as if they are true, but they are fiction. Some tall tales are exaggerations of events that actually happened, like the story of Johnny Appleseed.
  • Folklore: Has a grandparent ever told you a story that has been passed down through different generations? Folklore typically has cultural relevance, like the folktales of Paul Bunyan and Native American folktales.
  • Realistic fiction: These books and stories may seem true, but they are actually fiction and have not occurred in real life. Examples include Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Fault in Our Stars.
  • Science fiction: Do you like stories about aliens or outer space? Then you will enjoy science fiction books because they typically take place in outer space or even in the future, like Star Wars or Animorphs books.
  • Fable: You can normally learn a lesson from the moral of the story in a fable. Often time, the animals speak as humans, like ''The Lion and the Mouse'' or ''The Boy Who Cried Wolf.''
  • Fantasy: These stories are 'off-the-wall,' with strange and unusual characters or settings. The Harry Potter series is an example of fantasy.

Cinderella is a beloved fairy tale
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