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Required Genres: Structures, Features, Codes and Conventions

Genres shape our life in society, as they are the vehicles by which we communicate with one another. The following chart specifies the knowledge about the required genres that students are expected to develop by the end of secondary school. Students use this knowledge to construct meaning while reading and producing spoken, written, media, multigenre and multimodal texts in developmentally appropriate and increasingly more complex contexts. The complexity of a genre is achieved through the way its structures and features interact to create meaning in a given context. Examples include: the distance between a writer’s/producer’s stance, the topic and the intended/target audience; the level of abstraction of ideas; length and other media production constraints; the structures and features of specific texts; and, combinations of modes and genres. As such, a memoir can become quite sophisticated by grade 11 as students’ ability to reflect on their past is more mature and distanced, as is their ability to draw on a repertoire of literary devices to engage the reader.

It is understood that students learn about different texts by actively engaging in reading, interpreting and producing texts, by examining their social functions and specific structures and features, rather than being asked to identify or define terms in an isolated fashion. See SELA2, Required Genres, p. 9.

Student constructs knowledge with teacher guidance.

Student applies knowledge by the end of the school year.

 

Student reinvests knowledge.

Elementary

Secondary
Cycle
One
Cycle
Two
  1. Planning Texts
    Planning texts are used to plan and organize our thoughts, ideas and actions, and help us to monitor our own learning.
6 1 2 3 4 5
  1. Required Planning Texts
    The student reads and produces the following texts:
    1. Reading (spoken, written and media):
      1. Notes and informal transcripts based on sources read and/or consulted, including class/instructional notes, and the results of individual and group brainstorming activities
     
      1. Self-monitoring texts such as rubrics, checklists, project instructions and timelines
     
      1. Models of planning texts (i.e. outlines for research, storyboards, action plans, proposals)
   
    1. Production (spoken):
      1. Discussions in media production groups (i.e. to establish roles, make decisions, etc.)
     
      1. Conferences with peers and teacher (e.g. regarding action plan, outline, getting the ‘green light’)
 
    1. Production (written, media and multimodal):
      1. Notes and informal transcripts based on sources read and/or consulted, including class/instructional notes, and the results of individual and group brainstorming activities (i.e. field notes, minutes)
     
      1. Graphic organizers such as mind maps, clusters, lists
     
      1. Self-monitoring texts such as rubrics, checklists, timelines
     
      1. Outlines and storyboards (i.e. for research, written essays and media productions)
     
      1. Action plans and proposals for projects (i.e. for action research and independent units of study)
   
  1. Structures, Features, Codes and Conventions of Planning Texts
    The student understands the purpose of the following and uses this knowledge to construct meaning when reading and producing spoken, written, media, multigenre and multimodal texts:
    1. List of actions to undertake or of ideas to discuss/examine (e.g. prioritize tasks, decide on a project’s hypothesis and scope, create a thesis statement)
   
    1. Organization, categorization, collation and sequencing of ideas/information
   
    1. Conventions associated with thinking something through, such as informal/tentative language, pauses and hesitations, point form, use of capital letters and or other forms of annotation to differentiate ideas
   
    1. Visual conventions to articulate the hierarchy and relationships among ideas/actions (e.g. webbing, arrows, colour coding, layout)
 
    1. Genre-specific conventions (e.g. quotations from the text in an outline for a literary essay; proposed research resources in an action plan; selection of artefacts to present in a conference)
 
  1. Reflective Texts
    Reflective texts help us to reflect, think and/or wonder about life, current events, personal experiences, as well as to reflect on our actions and evaluate what we learn.
6 1 2 3 4 5
  1. Required Reflective Texts
    The student reads and produces the following texts:
    1. Reading (spoken, written and media):
      1. Journals, real or fictional (e.g. multimedia journals, writer’s notebooks and diaries)
     
      1. Self-evaluations and reflections, including peer/teacher feedback conferences
     
      1. Texts reflecting on values, experiences, ideas, opinions, state of society today (e.g. personal essay, magazine commentary, op-ed piece)
   
    1. Production (spoken):
      1. Class and small group discussions, including first readings/initial responses to texts (e.g. group plenaries)
     
      1. Self-evaluation conferences (i.e. presenting contents of the Integrated Profile and peer/teacher feedback)
     
      1. Postproduction discussions (e.g. in small groups, for peer evaluation)
     
    1. Production (written, media and multimodal):
      1. Journals, real or fictional, such as reading logs, media logs, learning/process logs, writer’s notebook, diary
     
      1. Written self-evaluations and reflections, including written feedback to peers
   
      1. Texts reflecting on values, experiences, ideas, opinions, state of society today (e.g. responses and interpretations of texts)
   
  1. Structures, Features, Codes and Conventions of Reflective Texts
    The student understands the purpose of the following and uses this knowledge to construct meaning when reading and producing spoken, written, media, multigenre and multimodal texts:
    1. Focus on ideas/experiences/qualities that are selected and synthesized
   
    1. Organizational structure to prioritize, sequence and explore ideas from multiple perspectives (e.g. classification, cause/effect, compare/contrast, chronology)
   
    1. Evidence from own experience including personal, global and/or textual examples
   
    1. Conclusion which shares a realization, resolution or judgment
   
    1. Rhetorical strategies to build rapport, create a sense of intimacy and closeness, and diminish boundaries between reader and producer (e.g. use of first person (I or we), use of anecdotes, analogies, questions, and metaphors)
   
    1. Tone and register to suit the genre and engage the intended/target audience, including self (e.g. distant and contemplative about a social issue; personal and sombre about something sad that happened; reminiscent or lamenting about a loss/memory)
   
    1. Genre-specific conventions (e.g. use of anecdotes, flashback and humour in a personal essay; questions, sarcasm, examples from other texts in a response; figurative language and doodles in a journal)
   
    1. Multigenre conventions (e.g. poems in a journal; recount in a self-evaluation conference)
   
    1. Multimodal conventions (e.g. tentative language, gestures in a conference; decoupage/collage and/or personal photos in a journal)
   
  1. Narrative Texts
    Narrative texts are one of the oldest forms for recording and making sense of human experience, as well as articulating the world of the imagination.
6 1 2 3 4 5
  1. Required Narrative Texts
    The student reads and produces the following texts:
    1. Reading (spoken, written and media):
      1. Young Adult Literature (YAL) in a range of genres including novels, graphic novels, memoirs and poetry
     
      1. Popular mass-produced texts such as magazines, graphic novels, films and songs
   
      1. Classic, modern and contemporary literature:
        • Written for children and young adolescents and reflecting the variety of texts in the literary tradition, including myths, fairy tales, legends, children’s literature, ballads and other poems
     
        • Written for adults and reflecting the variety of texts in the literary tradition, including novels, short stories, plays, poetry, memoir and biography/autobiography
     
    1. Production (spoken):
      1. Personal stories (e.g. anecdotes, accounts of family life and autobiographical incidents)
         
      1. Dramatizations of plays and other narrative texts (e.g. read-alouds, choral reading, scene selections)
         
      1. Spoken performances (e.g. poetry reading, spoken word, storytelling, dialogues)
   
      1. Improvisations (i.e. for problem solving, experimenting with different points of view, specifically Forum Theatre2 and role-play)
   
    1. Production (written, media and multimodal):
      1. Narratives in prose form:
        • Derived from personal experiences (own or others’) such as memoir, photo story, historical recount
         
        • Fictional narratives such as short story, script for a radio play
     
      1. Narratives in poetic form (e.g. lyric poetry, free verse, ballad, poetry of social commentary/conscience)
   
  1. Structures, Features, Codes and Conventions of Narrative Texts
    The student understands the purpose of the following and uses this knowledge to construct meaning when reading and producing spoken, written, media, multigenre and multimodal texts:
    1. Setting: the physical landscape and social context in which the action of story occurs (i.e. its time and place, and the descriptive details that construct the world of the story)
     
    1. Characterization:
      1. Major and minor characters (e.g. protagonist, antagonist, anti-hero, foil)
   
      1. Stock and/or flat characters (i.e. characters with only one or two qualities or traits, often stereotypes of individuals and/or groups)
   
      1. Archetypes (e.g. hero, maiden, arch nemesis)
 
    1. Conflict and resolution of conflict (i.e. central problem around which a story is typically organized) such as man against man, man against nature, issues involving what is right or wrong
   
    1. Plot:
      1. Basic plot structure: rising action, climax, denouement and resolution
     
      1. Features that move the story forward (i.e. incidents, scenes, episodes, and subplots)
   
      1. Linear and nonlinear plotting (e.g. flashback, multi-narrative strands, meta-fiction)
 
      1. Features to structure the plot (e.g. series of dramatic monologues in a script; flashbacks throughout a televised crime serial; interchapters in novels such as Grapes of Wrath)
 
      1. (Reading only) Structural irony (i.e. a double meaning established by a naive protagonist that continues throughout the text, such as in Treasure Island or Gulliver’s Travels)
     
    1. Theme:
      1. Overt or implied theme(s)
   
      1. Archetypal and contemporary themes (e.g. Faustian bargain or deal with the Devil; human isolation in the technological age)
       
      1. Recurring motifs, concepts, and other patterns
     
    1. Techniques/devices derived from literature:
      1. Suspense (e.g. foreshadowing, use of action sequences, spooky music)
     
      1. Character development (e.g. dialogue, dialect, pathos)
   
      1. Figurative language: metaphor, simile, imagery, personification
   
      1. Aesthetic qualities of language (e.g. alliteration, rhyme, rhythm, onomatopoeia)
   
      1. Connotation and denotation
   
      1. Point of view (i.e. first person, second person, third person limited and/or omniscient narrator)
   
      1. Tone and mood
   
      1. Humour (e.g. verbal irony, comic relief, caricature, hyperbole and understatement)
   
      1. Repetition and/or juxtaposition of symbols or motifs (e.g. allusion)
   
      1. Irony (e.g. situational, dramatic)
 
      1. Satire
 
    1. Conventions of specific literary genres (e.g. use of mythical characters in an allegory; scene gathering all the suspects in a mystery; quest plot structure in a fantasy; plot twist in a tragedy)
 
    1. Conventions of specific text types (e.g. use of gutters and panel shape/size in a comic; use of asides, soliloquy, stage directions in a play; use of stanzaic structure and enjambment in a poem)
 
    1. Multigenre conventions (e.g. journal entries in a novel; historical footage in a contemporary film)
     
    1. (Reading only) Multimodal conventions (e.g. use of theatrical elements such as costume, set design, makeup, blocking in a stage production; use of cinematic elements such as camera language, colour, lighting and soundtrack in a film)
     
  1. Explanatory Texts
    Explanatory texts answer the questions “why” and “how.” Describing a procedure and/or explaining social/natural phenomena, these texts allow people to share their expertise in a range of fields and form the basis of many texts from which we learn throughout our lives, such as textbooks and reference books.
6 1 2 3 4 5
  1. Required Explanatory Texts
    The student reads and produces the following texts:
    1. Reading (spoken, written and media):
      1. "How to" booklets/manuals/videos
     
      1. Photo-essays with text (e.g. pamphlet)
     
      1. Explanations of a process (e.g. presentation of a lesson by teacher and/or peers)
     
      1. Reference texts (i.e. for research purposes)
     
    1. Production (spoken):
      1. Explanations of a process (e.g. teaching something to peers/class, sharing expertise with others)
   
    1. Production (written, media and multimodal):
      1. Photo-essay with text (e.g. pamphlet)
     
      1. "How to" booklet/manual (e.g. expert paper)
     
  1. Structures, Features, Codes and Conventions of Explanatory Texts
    The student understands the purpose of the following and uses this knowledge to construct meaning when reading and producing spoken, written, media, multigenre and multimodal texts:
    1. Selection and synthesis of steps in a process
     
    1. Organizational structure to break down, categorize and sequence steps logically (e.g. classification, chronology)
     
    1. Conclusion which reviews the salient points
     
    1. Conventions which indicate cause and effect (e.g. clear and precise diction/word choice; causal conjunctions such as because, consequently and therefore; temporal conjunctions such as first, second, when and then; transitional phrases such as for example, in other words, as a result)
     
    1. Visuals to focus reader’s attention on what is most important (e.g. headings, captions, labels, graphics, table of contents)
   
    1. Rhetorical strategies to engage the intended/target audience and assure their comprehension (e.g. expert to non-expert register, demonstration, checking for understanding, analogy, referents to audience knowledge and experience)
     
    1. Multigenre conventions (e.g. emotional appeals (persuasive) and testimonials (narrative) in a pamphlet explaining how to recycle)
       
    1. Multimodal conventions (e.g. use of resources such as blackboard, slideshow, video clips in a spoken explanation)
       
  1. Reports
    Reports describe the way things are or were, conveying information in a seemingly straightforward and objective fashion. They focus on the classification and/or synthesis of a range of natural, cultural or social phenomena in order to name, document and store it as information.
6 1 2 3 4 5
  1. Required Reports
    The student reads and produces the following texts:
    1. Reading (spoken, written and media):
      1. Descriptive reports (e.g. recounts of an event/eye-witness report, preliminary research findings)
         
      1. News reports in different media (e.g. television, radio, Internet, graphic reportage/journalism such as 9/11 Report)
     
      1. Research reports on areas of student interest and expertise (e.g. the media, environmental issues, health and well-being)
 
      1. Interviews (e.g. in print, on radio and/or television)
   
    1. Production (spoken):
      1. Descriptive reports delivered in small groups or to whole class (e.g. plenaries)
         
      1. Interviews, including written and/or audio and/or video transcriptions
   
    1. Production (written, media and multimodal):
      1. News reports:
        • Short breaking news stories on topics of personal and/or local interest, such as for an online newspaper or blog
     
        • Feature news stories on topics of local, national and/or international interest
       
      1. Research reports:
        • on areas of student interest and/or expertise
     
        • on topics of local, national and/or international interest
       
  1. Structures, Features, Codes and Conventions of Reports
    The student understands the purpose of the following and uses this knowledge to construct meaning when reading and producing spoken, written, media, multigenre and multimodal texts:
    1. Information organized and sequenced using a structure such as chronology, classification, compare/contrast, problem/solution, cause/effect
   
    1. Layout which visually cues the reader (e.g. subheadings, call-outs, paragraphs, arrows, headline, by-line, composition of photos/images related to print)
   
    1. Information selected and synthesized to reflect the bias/stance of writer/producer
 
    1. Evidence to support details, ideas, concepts (e.g. via a variety of primary sources such as field notes, interviews, artefacts; and, secondary sources such as facts, statistics, contextual information)
   
    1. Conclusion(s) which highlight important facts or findings (e.g. via synthesis, interpretation of data, recommendations)
   
    1. Multigenre conventions (e.g. use of case studies in a research report; use of narration and/or description to synthesize interview responses into an in-depth profile or feature article)
     
    1. Multimodal conventions (e.g. video clips or still images interspersed throughout a televised interview; sound effects in a radio news report)
     
    1. Genre-specific conventions:
      1. News reports:
        • Inverted pyramid structure in short breaking news story (i.e. answering W5 in descending order of importance)
       
        • Features that give a sense of immediacy and prescience in a breaking news report: active voice, simple syntax and diction, eye-witness quotations and photo w/caption
       
        • Structure that suits the subject of a feature story (e.g. chronology in a profile/human interest story; cause/effect in an issues-based feature; parallel/convergent structure to interconnect two or more stories with the same theme)
       
        • Features that give a sense of depth and context in a feature news story: background information, flashback, anecdotes, interview data, research information from both sides of the issue
       
        • Respect for the production constraints that influence content (e.g. word limit, time restrictions, copyright, ideology)
   
        • Media conventions for specific effect (e.g. using camera angle and graphics to convey credibility; using on-site correspondent and hand held camera to create a sense of embeddedness)
   
      1. Research reports:
        • Structure that matches the information reported and expectations of a specific discipline/field of study (e.g. science, social studies):
          • Cause/effect and chronology
     
          • Classification and compare/contrast
       
        • Visual conventions to convey information, meaning(s) and relationships among ideas such as in a timeline or mind map (e.g. key words and images, colour, lines, arrows, dimension and spacing)
   
        • Features that elucidate/develop the content: paraphrasing, using examples, description, quotations, definitions
   
        • Conventions that establish authority and expertise (e.g. formal register, technical/disciplinary diction/word choice, passive voice, proper referencing of sources)
     
      1. Interviews:
        • Question and answer (Q & A) structure, including short biographical introduction, open-ended and relevant questions, and follow-up questions
       
        • Rhetorical strategies to construct a relationship with the subject such as sharing short anecdotes, contextualizing, eye contact, paraphrasing, showing knowledge of subject
     
  1. Expository Texts
    Expository texts are constructed in deliberate ways and interpret some aspect of the world in a particular way. Whereas fictional texts may occupy a prominent place in our leisure time, persuasive and argumentative texts are central not only to leisure activities, as in reading newspapers, but also play an important role in postsecondary institutions, different professions and in the world of work in general.
  1. (1) Exposition: Persuasive Texts
    Persuasive texts try to move people to act or behave in a certain way, including selling or promoting a product or ideology.
6 1 2 3 4 5
  1. Required Persuasive Texts
    The student reads and produces the following texts:
    1. Reading (spoken, written and media):
      1. Advertisements, including public service announcements (PSAs), publicity campaigns, popular slogans, posters, book and film trailers
   
      1. Reviews (e.g. of books, television programs, films, music)
   
      1. Texts dealing with personal and social concerns (i.e. Internet sites, documentary films, speeches)
 
    1. Production (spoken):
      1. Speeches (e.g. pitch an ad campaign, book talk)
    1. Production (written, media and multimodal):
      1. Advertisements, including public service announcements (PSAs), posters, book trailers
 
      1. Reviews (i.e. book and film reviews)
 
      1. Essays dealing with personal and social concerns (e.g. opinion column, position paper)
     
  1. Structures, Features, Codes and Conventions of Persuasive Texts
    The student understands the purpose of the following and uses this knowledge to construct meaning when reading and producing spoken, written, media, multigenre and multimodal texts:
    1. Techniques/devices derived from literature:
      1. Humour (e.g. bathos, double-entendre, pun, parody, sarcasm)
   
      1. Figures of speech (e.g. metonymy, euphemism, oxymoron, hyperbole and understatement)
   
      1. Figurative language (e.g. imagery, metaphor, simile, personification)
   
    1. Persuasive language such as connotation, loaded words, modals (should, would, must), polarizing rhetoric, judging/quantifying/qualifying words
 
    1. Respect for production constraints that influence the content of a newspaper/magazine/show (e.g. word limit, time restrictions, readership tastes and expectations, layout)
 
    1. Rhetorical strategies such as anticipating and addressing opposing viewpoints, repetition, questions, gestures, intonation patterns, eye-contact and fallacies such as emotional appeals, circular reasoning, begging the question, slippery slope
     
    1. Multigenre conventions (e.g. use of melodrama in a series of TV ads; use of fairy tale conventions in an opinion column)
     
    1. Multimodal conventions (e.g. sound of grasshoppers to indicate deafening silence in a speech; manipulated images in an op-ed piece)
     
    1. Genre-specific conventions:
      1. Advertisements (including PSAs):
        • Persuasive techniques such as appeals to basic needs (e.g. ‘fitting in’, ‘luxury and style’, ‘doing good’; emotional appeals such as use of testimonials and sad music)
   
        • Media conventions such as camera language, layout, colour, sound (jingle, repetition, rhyme, voiceover)
   
        • Manipulation of familiar codes and conventions for specific effect
       
        • Transformation of ideas/concept from one mode/medium to another (e.g. creating a spoof PSA based on a current news story)
     
      1. Reviews:
        • Introduction that includes: the title and name of producer of the text being reviewed; an overview of the main topic, genre, critiques and issues raised
   
        • Content which includes: background on author and context; comparison with other texts in same genre; critique of producer’s decisions (e.g. particular aspects of the plot, characters, setting, conflicts, theme(s), and/or various literary techniques)
   
        • Organizational structure that supports the reviewer’s opinion/critique (e.g. compare/contrast, respecting narrative chronology)
   
        • Conclusion which contains a positive, negative or ambivalent recommendation
   
        • Conventions to establish credibility (e.g. informal but expert tone and diction, 1st person point of view)
   
      1. Essays:
        • Thesis/controlling idea (i.e. thesis statement)
     
        • Introduction with an engaging lead and an elaboration of topic
     
        • Evidence organized as points in a logical sequence (i.e. using a structure such as classification, cause and effect, compare/contrast, chronology)
     
        • Use of a variety of strategies to prove/illustrate point (e.g. anecdote, famous quotations, popular media examples)
     
        • Conclusion which convinces reader either to behave (buy, donate, act – ‘call to action’) or to think a certain way
     
  1. (2) Exposition: Argumentative Texts
    Argumentative texts try to convince people of a point of view about a topic or issue through a logical sequencing of ideas and/or propositions.
6 1 2 3 4 5
  1. Required Argumentative Texts
    The student reads and produces the following texts:
    1. Reading (spoken, written and media):
      1. Texts dealing with personal and social concerns, such as political blogs, editorials, televised panel discussions, critical essays
     
      1. Essays dealing with issues/topics arising from literature, popular culture and the media
     
    1. Production (spoken):
      1. Debates, formal and informal
       
    1. Production (written, media and multimodal):
      1. Texts dealing with personal and social concerns (e.g. editorial, blog, research thesis)
     
      1. Essays dealing with issues arising from literature (i.e. literary essay)
     
  1. Structures, Features, Codes and Conventions of Argumentative Texts
    The student understands the purpose of the following and uses this knowledge to construct meaning when reading and producing spoken, written, media, multigenre and multimodal texts:
    1. Rhetorical strategies to engage and convince reader (e.g. stating basis of argument (pros/cons) upfront, anticipating and addressing opposing viewpoints; using analogies; using historical and/or current events to situate topic; deductive/inductive reasoning, antithesis; and fallacies such as burden of proof, false dilemma/black and white thinking, false cause/non sequitur)
     
    1. Conventions to establish credibility and authority such as using a formal, academic register; 1st or 3rd person point of view; timeless present tense and passive voice; precise, factual, and/or technical language
     
    1. Conventions which establish relationships between ideas and serve to extend the argument (e.g. syntactic structures such as parallel structure and syllogism; transitional words and phrases such as however, subsequently, on the other hand; correlative conjunctions such as if, … then …, ratherthan)
     
    1. Multigenre conventions (e.g. use of personal narrative in an essay; ‘call to action’ conclusion in an editorial)
     
    1. Multimodal conventions (e.g. video clips of recent news events in a panel discussion; satirical cartoon with an editorial on same topic)
     
    1. Genre-specific conventions:
      1. Debates:
        • Use of a procedure such as Parliamentary procedure
     
        • Basic structure: opening statement of the issue and a preview of main arguments, followed by arguments for a point of view with supporting evidence, then arguments against this point of view, time for rebuttal, and concluding with a recommendation in favour of one side
     
        • Rhetorical strategies to address and/or distract opponent such as rephrasing, paraphrasing, and/or redirecting to move debate forward; maintaining eye-contact; using a rational, unwavering tone; and fallacies such as red herring, ad hominem argument, guilt by association/bad company, straw man
     
        • Spoken conventions such as intonation patterns, pauses and silences, gestures, turn-taking, use of a moderator
     
        • (Reading only) Media conventions for specific effect (e.g. the use of close-up to create a sense of immediacy or involvement in a televised debate)
     
      1. Essays:
        • Introduction which includes a lead, an elaboration of the topic, a clear thesis statement and a path statement
     
        • Evidence organized as points in a logical sequence (e.g. using a structure such as classification, cause and effect, compare/contrast, chronology)
     
        • Conventions to establish a sense of unity and coherence (i.e. paragraphs structured using a formulaic pattern: topic sentence, explanation of the example/idea, evidence to support that example/idea, and reasoning to link back to thesis)
     
        • Conclusion which wraps up the argument by: generalizing the thesis/ideas to the human condition, elevating specific issues to a universal level, drawing on higher truths, etc.
     
        • Proper citation(s) of reference material (e.g. ellipsis points, brackets, formatting, footnotes, bibliography )
     
      1. Editorials:
        • Focus on current issues and events in the news
     
        • Introduction which situates issue within a local and/or national context
     
        • Stance/role of editor is consistent with the ideology of a given news source
     
        • Respect for production constraints that influence the editorial content of a newspaper/magazine/show (e.g. the influence of producer’s political ideology on content; word limit, time restrictions, copyright)
     
1.  The blue bar signifies that students require the guidance of their teacher to reinvest the knowledge gained by the end of a certain grade level in progressively more demanding contexts, with increasingly more challenging material, to ensure that their understanding deepens over time.
2.  See SELA, p. 98 for more information about Forum Theatre.

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