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Using Metafiction in the Elementary Classroom

Uncategorized Jan 23, 2019

At this point in the year, it’s often time to spice up reading and writing. I like to try a bit of Metafiction with kids. If you think that younger students aren’t ready for this, you are so wrong! Not only do they “get it”, they LOVE it.


What is Metafiction?

Let’s start with a definition. Metafiction: fiction in which the author self-consciously alludes to what they are doing in the story. Authors are parodying or departing from writing conventions and traditional narrative techniques.

Metafiction forces readers to be aware they are reading a fictional book. It breaks what the theater calls “the fourth wall”, the divide between what’s happening on the stage and the audience.

The easiest way to teach this is by example and imitation.


11 Types of Metafiction [and a few book suggestions] to get you started.

Imitation, Parody or Irony

Copying other stories while playing around with parody or irony.

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book? by Lauren Child


Story Gaps

Gaps in the story that the reader has to fill in or speculate on.

The Three Little Pigs by David Wiesner


Multiple Points of View

The same story told from different people or characters’ points of view.

Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne

Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka


Characters Talking to the Reader or Author

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

We Are in a Book by Mo Willems

Warning! Do Not Open This Book! by Adam Lehrhaupt

Chester by Melanie Watt


Non-linear or Out of Sequence

Black and White by David Macaulay


Unusual Book Design or Layout

The Three Little Pigs by David Wiesner

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Mix It Up by Herve Tullet

The Book With No Pictures by Novak


Nested Narratives

These are stories within a story.

Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett (“read” the side bars)

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein


Characters Comment About Their Story (or other stories)

Chester by Melanie Watt

Let Me Finish by Minh Le

This Book Just Ate My Dog by Richard Byrne


Disrupting Time and Space

Redwoods by Jason Chin

In a Village by the Sea by Muon Van


Mixing Genres

A Book by Gernstein


Metafiction and Non-fiction Mixed

No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart

How This Book Was Made by Marc Barnett


Teaching Ideas

Teaching Tips: Fun With Metafiction by Hollingworth


Teach joyfully,


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