Reading - text types

Poems, plays and stories

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Tutor: Kat


Poems, plays and stories

​​In a nutshell

Texts can be fiction or non-fiction. Fiction is made up or invented, while non-fiction is about real life. Any creative work written using imagination is fiction including poems, plays and stories. This summary will explore different types of fiction and how to recognise them. 


A poem is a piece of writing written using imagination. Poetry can tell a story, or it can be about a feeling or an idea. Poems are carefully written, often with short lines which can rhyme, have rhythm and use a lot of imagery. There are many different kinds of poetry, for example, haikus, limericks, sonnets and acrostic poems. Each different type of poetry has its own style and set of rules to follow. 


The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat by Edward Lear


A play is a story that is performed, usually on a stage. When a play is written down it's called a script. Plays are mostly made up of dialogue, but scripts also include stage directions which tell the actors how to say their lines and move around the stage, as well as giving instructions about the lighting, scenery and props. If a play includes songs which the characters sing as part of the plot, it's called a musical. 


An Inspector Calls by J. B. Priestley

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare


A story is a piece of creative writing such as a novel, a kind of book that tells a narrative. There are many different types of stories called genres. Every genre has its own style and set of characteristics. Below you can read about the different characteristics of some common genres of stories. 


Adventure stories are exciting, fast-paced and include moments of danger. The main character is usually a heroic type who has to go on a journey, or a quest, often to explore an unknown place. Adventure stories use different narrative techniques to create suspense, such as cliffhangers.


Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling


Mystery stories often revolve around a crime or a puzzle. There is a skilled detective character who has to figure it out, but to make it difficult there are usually lots of characters who are suspects and all have motives for the crime. Mystery stories are full of suspense and can even trick the reader. For example, they often have a plot twist near the end where everything the reader thinks is true is reversed. By the end of the story the detective solves the case and the villain is revealed.


The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon


A fantasy story typically features beings, places or events which couldn't exist or happen in real life. Fantasy stories are set in imaginary worlds which have their own laws involving magic and imaginary creatures. Lots of them have medieval characteristics such as kings, castles, armies and dragons. The main character is an often reluctant hero who has to go on a quest so that good can triumph over evil.


Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

What is a genre?

What is a play?

What is fiction?


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