Read it, Write it, Tell it Head 11
Read it, Write it, Tell it Head 11 Home Introduction Teaching Materials Grades 3-4 Grades 5-7 Links Videos Read it, Write it, Tell it Head 11 Read it, Write it, Tell it Head 11


Mike Fink

Genre Lessons

Identifying Poetry

Fairy Tales vs. Folktale

Genre Extensions

Genre PDF Downloads

Genre Bookmarks

Blank Bookmarks

Cinderella vs. Babe

Complete Genre Unit



1 Genre
Episode: Mike Fink

Lesson Overview

The purpose of the lessons in this unit is to help Ohio students in grades 3-7 learn the characteristics of the literary text GENRE indicators that they must master for their respective Ohio achievement tests. Special care has been taken to dovetail the lessons with the indicators and the types of questions commonly asked on Ohio tests. The lessons are divided into two sections: Grades 3-4 and Grades 5-7.

Ohio Academic Content Indicators

Identify and explain the defining characteristics of literary forms and genres, including fairy tales, folktales, poetry, fiction and non-fiction.

Identify and explain the defining characteristics of literary forms and genres, including poetry, drama, fables, fantasies, chapter books, fiction and non-fiction.

Ohio Achievement/Proficiency Tests Genre Question Types

  • Given a list of story elements, select the story element for the reading selection.
  • Given a list of possible genres, select the correct genre for the reading selection.
  • Given a list of details from the reading selection, select the detail which is a characteristic genre X?

Mike Fink
Episode Overview

This episode is about the legendary Mike Fink, a keelboat man who traveled up and down the Ohio River. The segment begins with information about Fink, keelboats, and river transportation in early Ohio. In the tall tale portion of the episode Mike faces river pirates, travels through time, and enlists the help of other versions of himself to defeat the pirates.

Fiction vs. Non-fiction

Check to see that your students know the difference between fiction and non-fiction.

  • Ask: How do you know what is non-fiction (not make-believe) and what is make fiction (make-believe). Some children can become confused by the use of prefix “non” when non-fiction is defined as “real” and fiction is defined as “not real.” You may want to define fiction as “make-believe” and non-fiction as “not make-believe.”
  • Ask: Which of the following statements are fiction (make-believe) and which are non-fiction (not make-believe)?
    • Lions are born with sky blue fur but the fur turns to a tan color within 3 hours of their birth. Fiction. The statement is false. Lions are not born with blue fur.
    • Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse are cartoon characters. Non-Fiction. The statement is true.
    • Wooden pencils are made in factories by placing small, round rods of lead between two layers of wood and then cutting out the shape of the pencils. Fiction. There is no lead in a pencil. Lead is dangerous when ingested. Pencils use graphite. Students who encounter wordy sentences often assume that they must be statements of fact.
    • Elementary school children get so tired at school because the school day is 10 hours long. Fiction. A school day is not 10 hours long. Students who feel that the school day is too long may decide that this is a factual statement and miss the incorrect information about the length of a school day.
  • Optional: “Fiction vs. Non-Fiction” Venn diagram. Have the children fill out the graphic organizer. Answers may vary. Accept answers that students can support.
Access this episode's Before Viewing and After Viewing discussion guides by downloading the complete unit guide.

Genre Lessons

Identifying Poetry

Use rhythm, rhyme, or patterned speech to identify poetry when they hear it.


  • Copy of an appropriate poem to display or handout. Click here for ideas and suggestions.
  • Method of sharing: chalkboard, chart paper, computer projection.
  • Optional: Genre bookmarks for poetry.


  • Locate a poem.
  • Print one or more copies of a poem. Say: Listen (or follow along) as I read this selection aloud.
  • Ask: What did you enjoy about the selection I just read to you?
  • Say: We are going to take a more detailed look at the selection. Listen for words that rhyme as I read it a second time.
  • Reread the poem.
  • Ask: Did you hear any rhyming words?
  • Make lists of the rhyming words on the chalkboard, a computer with projection capabilities, or on chart paper. You may wish to use a separate color for each different pair or group of rhyming words.
  • Say: Close your eyes. As we listen to the selection one more time, I want you to gently move one finger (or one hand) in time with my voice if you feel a beat, a pattern, or a rhythm.
  • Read the poem once more and check the students’ abilities to feel the rhythm or beat. Have the students pat out the beat/pattern/rhythm together as a group, if some children have difficulty feeling it individually.
  • Review the characteristics of poetry the class has discovered.
  • Listen to the Read It, Write It, Tell It “Mike Fink” episode again.
  • Ask: Is this a poem? Be ready to support your answer based on what we have discovered about poems.

Differentiating Fairy Tale from Folktale


  • Handout: “Cinderella vs. Babe the Blue Ox.”
  • Text of “Cinderella” and “Babe the Blue Ox.” Copy of an appropriate poem to display or hand out. Click here for ideas and suggestions.
  • Display method: chalkboard, chart paper, computer, etc.
  • Read It, Write It, Tell It episode “Mike Fink”
  • Optional: Genre Bookmarks: Folktale and Fairy Tale


  • Say: Today we will work with the literary genres folktales and fairy tales.
  • Duplicate the “Cinderella vs. Babe the Blue Ox” handout. The handout compares a version of the fairy tale, “Cinderella” to a version of the folktale “Babe the Blue Ox.”
  • Say: The last column of this handout is blank. Let’s compare these two stories and see if we can find any differences between the two.
  • If the students are not familiar with the stories, read “Cinderella” and “Babe the Blue Ox” to the students. The following sites have the text used for the “Cinderella vs. Babe the Blue Ox” handout that accompanies this unit.
  • Discuss and explain the similarities and differences between folktales and their subgroup fairy tales.
  • Create a list of the characteristics of folktales and fairy tales. You may wish to duplicate one or more of the genre bookmarks provided in this unit.
  • Say: We will watch the “Mike Fink” Read It, Write It, Tell It episode a second time. Decide if this episode is a fairy tale or a folktale. Write a paragraph supporting your decision based on what the class has learned about the two genres and on details from the episode.