Do Flowcharts get you excited…or give you a rash?

I’ve always thought flowcharts had a tendency to get a bit messy – or maybe that’s just my OCD kicking in, trying to straighten out all those little lines and bubbles!  At any rate, kids LOVE them, and that’s what matters.

My special knack for condensing large amounts of information to just one or two pages has finally paid off.  With a little help from, I’ve created a flowchart that lets readers answer simple questions about their book to determine what possible genre it falls into.  (This was always tricky to communicate as a librarian, to students who just wanted a good book.)

Using this little map, begin by classifying your book as either True or Not True, and follow the arrows from there!  I’ve also included a more basic (and symmetrical) flowchart for those of us who just need a gentle nudge in the right genre direction…

Click the image to download the PDF

Click to download the PDF

These visual aids are wonderful to introduce the idea of genre, and to spark interest in categories of literature that might have gone unnoticed.   Be sure to point out the similarities in story elements, and the way that many genres overlap or share characteristics.  For instance, a realistic fiction book could also be a mystery, or an adventure story.  Then again, that same mystery or adventure set in the past could classify it as historical fiction!

Now get that stack of books out and see what genres you uncover!


About kbnelson

Karen Nelson is an author and teacher, with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction. She is the author of 100 Things To Do In Branson Before You Die (Reedy Press, 2018), After Ever After (Goldminds Publishing, 2017), and a half dozen other books for the nonfiction market. Her award-winning articles and short fiction have appeared in national magazines, and she maintains her passion for education from her southwest Missouri farm.

6 responses »

  1. […] kick off the year with a total Genre Overview, using these flowcharts I created (thanks,!) to help kids see the relationship between […]

    • April says:

      I was excited to see your Genre Flowchart; however, at the bottom of the image, it says click for PDF–instead of a PDF, it pulls up the same image file, which is much smaller and impossible to read as-is.

  2. Candice says:

    I am also looking to see a PDF with the flowchart with questions. It is too small to read. I would loveeeee to use this with my students! It is JUST what I have been looking for! Is it possible to send it to me email

  3. kbnelson says:

    I’m thrilled to see the interest in the Genre Studies chart! I have offered this as a free download for quite some time, and am pleased to now be able to offer it through my store at TeachersPayTeachers, along with other educational materials. Visit that site here:

  4. […] kick off the year with a total Genre Overview, using these flowcharts I created (thanks,!) to help kids see the relationship between […]

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