Monday, July 1, 2013

Kinds of Text: Poetry, Drama, and Prose

In my early reading years I did not have a good attitude toward the word prose, mostly because Anne of Green Gables described boring days as "prosey". I wasn't really sure of what prose was back then, but if Anne didn't like it, then I didn't like it either.

As an older reader I realized that prose is not necessarily dull (although the word "prosey" can be found in a number of old books from the 1800s). It's good that I have come to like prose, as it is included in the fourth grade Common Core standards. Students will need to be able to explain "major differences between poems, drama, and prose."

So what are these major differences? It's easy to think about how these different kinds of text are built in different ways. Here is a chart that I made to show this to students:

As you can see, structure is the key to differentiating among these kinds of text. Fiction and nonfiction can apply to any of these texts.

Wow, this will be a tough thing to teach at the beginning of the year. (Or rather--it will be easy to show students the chart and explain it; what will be difficult will be making sure that students can easily access and apply the information.) I'm planning to adapt some of the activities that I already use, like sorting mini-texts, and I've created some new things to help students look more carefully at comparing texts.

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