FOR Tom Romano, author of Blending Genre, Altering Style, the multigenre paper is much more than a writing assignment. It is a multilayered, multivoiced literary experience.
Each genre reveals one facet of the topic, and it can stand alone to make its own point. There are no traditional transitions like in a regular research paper, and the pieces are not necessarily in chronological order.
The paper is a collage of writing, often punctuated with artistic sketches, paintings or graphics. Genres of narrative thinking require writers to make an imaginative leap, melding the factual with the imaginative. Writers can’t just tell. They must show. They must make their topics palpable. They must penetrate experience. Multigenre papers enable their authors to do that.
People today are asked to publish their research in a manner that other people can easily digest. Readers want graphic application formats that speak to the type of information that needs to be communicated.
The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) programme has been featuring the various genres found in the newspaper that can meet national curriculum needs and be easily meshed into lessons.
This week, we feature multigenre sports articles and multigenre movie, musical and book reviews.
Creating a multigenre sports article
A newspaper sports article takes a timely athletic event and reviews what happened for the reader.
The article should include detailed information on the event and attempt to be as objective as possible.
An accompanying photo can bring greater depth and excitement to the article.
Characteristics/Rubric base• An analysis of what happened in the sporting event and why.
• Focus on various athletes and their backgrounds, achievements, personalities, and potential.
• Give the final results and a review of the event in a chronological manner.
• Insights into various plays and how the outcome might have been different.
• Background discussion on the team and/or player and the event, and its current placement in the rankings.
• Review past events and statistics, and talk about predictable trends and outcomes.
• Highly descriptive and technical sporting words to bring excitement to the reading.
• Quotes from players, spectators, coaches, managers, etc.
• A strong photo from the event with an equally dynamic caption.
• A clever headline for the article; sports headlines often include figures of speech, puns, or a play on words.
• Inclusion of graphics and statistics for players and teams.
• Inclusion of information on the team’s trades, injuries, and other problems.
• Use of many synonyms for the words “lost” and “won”.
• Can be used with an athletic or game-based event in history, literature, or current events turned into a sports article by focusing on the who, what, where, when, why and how (5 Ws and an H).
In English, language arts, the humanities, history and, of course, athletics, sports articles can become a major multigenre format.
These articles mix hard news with characteristics of a feature article and lure the reader through vivid photos, a colourful headline and “need to know “ information about a particular sporting event.
The book, Stone Fox, focuses on a dog sled race across the frozen north. For the reader to show comprehension of this story, he could take the events from the last few chapters in this book and turn them into a sports article.
All the information for this article would be found within the context of the fictional story. The same can be done for Harry Potter and the game of Quiddich.
Using the rubric, examine sports stories in today’s copy of The Star. Which elements of the rubric were used in the sports stories? Which story did you enjoy, find interesting, or feel entertained by? Why? Which headlines used various figures of speech, puns or plays on words?
Now, write a sports story with a headline about a sporting event you have attended or participated in, or one that has taken place in your school. Then, try writing a sports story based on a short story, book or fictional event.
Creating a multigenre movie, musical or book review
Whether they focus on musical performances, plays, books or movies, movie, musical or book reviews should provide the reader with insight into the quality of the product.
Almost every aspect of the product should be examined critically with statements backed with strong evidence and support.
For a movie or play• Overall impact of the movie.
• Evaluation of the script and plot development.
• Portrayal of various characters and how well they are enacted.
• Use of sets, music, props, special effects, editing, etc.
• Comparison to other movies, especially if it’s a prequel or sequel.
• General enjoyment level of the movie.
• Connection to a book, if the movie appeared in book form first.
• Recommended or not recommended for viewing, and on what basis.
For a book:
Characteristics would be much the same as for a movie, except for special effects, music, costuming, visual settings, and props.
• Use of descriptive words for visualisation.
• Believability of characters and their use of dialogue, character development.
• Interesting and/or probing subject matter or theme.
• Author’s craft or style.
• Flow of the material to keep you reading.
For a CD or musical group• Impact the music has on the listener.
• Development of the composition and the various elements involved.
• Use of instruments and special effects.
• Voice and/or tone quality.
• Uniqueness of style.
Any area of the curriculum has related movies and fictional or non-fictional books that can be reviewed.
Music is directly related to any of the arts, to the humanities and to history. For state and national tests, students are tested on their persuasive writing skills, and this format helps to prepare them to write persuasively.
Using the rubric, examine book, movie, CD or musical reviews in today’s copy of The Star (these are mostly available in the StarLifestyle section of the paper). Which elements of the rubric were used in the reviews? Which review did you find the most interesting and informative? Using the examples you found and the rubric, write a review of a movie, book, musical group or CD.
Next week: Creating a multigenre “Letter to the Editor” and a multigenre blurb.
Since 1997, Star-NiE has been making a difference in the English language classrooms nationwide, with an emphasis on aiding teaching-learning activities with the use of authentic newspaper materials. Published on Wednesdays, The Star’s NiE pullout is available only through school subscriptions of The Star.
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