Learning Module 11
Definitions and Perspectives
about the Multigenre Essay
EDLL 5341/EDLL 5344
March 31, 2014
• The Focus for this week’s learning module is to
develop your understanding of the multigenre
essay and help you get off to a solid start on this
project. To this end, I would like you to start this
journey by examining definitions and different
perspectives about the multigenre essay. You
have approximately one month to complete this
assignment. The sooner you identify a topic, the
better for you! During the next few weeks of our
course, I will focus your attention on the theories
and techniques for completing this project.
• Due Date for the Multigenre Essay is April 25th
What is Multigenre Writing?
Tom Romano’s Website
Cognitive Vs. Emotional
Writing/Narrative Thinking From
Blending Genre/Altering Style
“In most of my writing the cognitive and the emotional
are entwined. This happens because in whatever I
write, I seek a place for narrative thinking. More than I
am interested in reflecting on or abstracting from
experience, I am interested in rendering it so that
readers live the page. When done well, Tom Newkirk
(1997) contends, such rendering ‘penetrates’
experience (p. 95), taking readers inside a present
moment, present because narrative thinking lets us
experience the writing, a little like watching a
compelling movie or Count Basie presiding above the
rumpus or Liz Irish step dancing” (p. 24).
Why Study Multigenre Writing as a
Part of Content Area Literacy?
• Multigenre writing is a unique tool for teaching
students to think about content matter. It involves
complex levels of synthesis and analysis as well as
representation and communication.
• Disciplinary-focused literacy entails multiple genres and
modalities of text and the Discourses associated with
comprehending and creating such texts (e.g., symbols,
graphs, pictures, music). Multigenre writing is a way to
bring multiple types of texts together with print-based
texts and in so doing forge a bridge between
disciplinary-driven forms of literacy and traditional
print-based definitions and expectations of literacy.
Grammar A and Grammar B
• Compare the two samples of writing over
Count Basie on page 18 and page 20.
• What is distinctive about the style of each of
• Which one is emblematic of a “grammar A”
(traditional) style and which one is
emblematic of a “grammar B” (alternate)
Requirements of the Multigenre
Paper should be at least 5-7 pages in length
Include a minimum of five different genres of
Refer to at least five different, research-based
Include an introductory letter to readers
Include documentation of referenced material
within the paper (i.e., in-text citations)
Include a reference page for sources
Include an end notes page that lists the sources
for each genre of writing
The Book that Inspired Tom Romano to teach
Multigenre Writing: The Collected Works of Billy the
• “Out of his inquiry into Billy the Kid, Ondaatje
created a complex, multilayered, multivoiced
blend of genres, each revealing information
about his topic, each self-contained, making a
point of its own, unconnected to other genres
by conventional transitional devices . . . All of
these genre snapshots combine to re-create
part of the factual world of Billy the Kid but
also the imaginative world of dramatic scenes
. . .Factual and emotional. Objective and
subjective. Real and imagined” (p. 4).
Before you Begin Writing:
1. Read Excerpt from The Collected Works of Billy the Kid
by Michael Ondaatje.
2. Read “Cosmetic Clips” on page 7 in Blending Genre,
Altering Style. (Please note this is not a research
example of multigenre writing; it is a personal
3. Read sample multigenre essays written by a high
school student and a former EDLL 5341 student.
4. Brainstorm a list of possible topics for your paper.
5. Brainstorm a list of possible genres you could use in
Read Chapters 5-8 in Blending Genre,
Altering Style and select a topic for your
multigenre essay for our next class