A good, accessible way to explain genre is through the idea of making a cake.
I bring in recipes and we talk as a class about how different ingredients, combined together, make different types of cakes.
Having established this simple idea, we move on to thinking about different types of books and that we recognise these by their different ingredients.
There only remains the terminology of genre and conventions to be mentioned to replace type and ingredient.
As a class, we then have a go at "baking" different genres. Pupils write, in the format of the exemplars, recipes for different types of writing. For instance, a gothic cake might require 10g of ghosts, 5ml of blood, a spoonful of vampires and a long and quick mix in a graveyard.
Drawing what these genre cakes would look like can be fun too
Chris Bond teaches English at Warwick School, Warwickshire