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Genres and Diversity: Meet Strand 4

Strand 4 isn’t just about different genres and literary elements. It also calls for diverse texts. But what does that mean?

What does "diverse texts" really mean?

Literary Elements & Genres

The multiple genres strand is divided into two sections: literary elements and genres.

Literary elements addresses the expectations for theme, characters, plot, and setting. The standards get more complex at each grade level, moving from verbs such as discuss and identify, all the way to analyze, evaluate, and critique at the senior level. I feel like most teachers will recognize these standards but will need to reacquaint themselves with what is being taught and at what level.

Genres delineates the standards for what students need to know about various fiction genres, poetry, drama, informational texts, and argumentative texts. Again, I think for the most part these will be familiar to teachers.

Strand 4 will be supported by the standards in 1-3, as students will be using foundational skills, comprehension, and response as they navigate different genres and analyze literary elements.

The Question of Diverse Texts

As you may remember from an earlier post, the comprehension strand (Strand 2) calls for increasingly complex texts. Strand 4 takes it a step further. The knowledge and skills statement calls for “increasingly complex… and diverse texts.”

In an earlier post, I discussed different elements that make text complex, but what makes a text diverse? This has been an ongoing conversation in language arts circles for a while. And I would posit that it will continue to be an ongoing discussion. It really comes down to whose voices and narratives are you including in your classrooms. Are you including women? People of color? Stories from around the globe? LGTQ authors? Can your students see themselves in the selections they are reading? How much choice do they have? What are they exposed to? And how do you as a teacher ensure students have access to diverse texts?

I know, there are more questions than answers, but I think it is important to keep that conversation going. And if this hasn’t been part of your planning or PLC conversations, it should be.

Please feel free to share your definition of diverse texts. I would love to hear from you!

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