Literary Pyramid

Found this in one of my mom’s teaching books…Do you guys agree?

“Climbing a stepped pyramid, even a literary one, is an adventure, and you will find pleasures at each step along the way.Whether you prefer the basic building blocks towards the bottom, appreciate some of the resting places midway, or want to advance to more exhilarating heights, it’s worth undertaking higher and higher elevations. See what you can learn to enjoy while your footsteps become steadier with practice and knowledge. Easier and more difficult literature can be found at every level of your journey, but generally the difficulty increases as you ascend toward the genres near the top of the pyramid. Your favorites may be found at the base, in the middle, or at the rewarding summit, but the main goal is to enjoy the climb!”

-The Literature Teacher’s Book of Lists (2005)
Judie L. H. Strouf


  1. Oh boy this pyramid can anger a lot of people. I think it depends on what genres you prefer. I do have issues with putting pop magazines over most of the stuff on the bottom line. Also I don’t see fantasy and science fiction. I’m I missing it?

  2. @ TBM Yeah, that was my issue too. I don’t understand why a graphic novel would be below a pop magazine either, unless they mean like those intellectual magazines like the New Yorker or something (but then they shouldn’t have put “pop”.) Now that you mention it, yeah, I don’t see fantasy or science fiction either…unless Adventure is supposed to be a blanket term or something. I’m also confused by novel being up towards the top. Can’t a novel be anything on the third line from the bottom? (well, not the short story….)

    @Black Rabbit Yeah, I suppose classics should be above everything else, because they’ve withstood the test of time.

    1. Maybe adventure is a catchall but I don’t agree with it. And does there have to be only one at the top. I know its a pyramid but I feel that there are recent books that can rival the classics. The concept is interesting but I don’t agree with the results I guess.

  3. I agree with TBM, this seems dated. And I agree that there is a lot of recent literature that is on equal footing with the so-called classics. Is there any other info besides the picture, maybe an explanation on what criteria this was based on and by whom?

    1. I had to get the book from storage. Lol, I added what was included with the pyramid…does it make it any less confusing? It’s not that old either…2005.

    1. @themisanthropologist, I know, right?! I didn’t even know what a “farce” was…I had to look it up, and I know my journal entries aren’t better than comic books. Maybe the second line should be the base of the pyramid. Also, I don’t understand why melodrama is a category…when like TBM mentioned science fiction and fantasy are not even there.

  4. hahaha I didn’t even notice that…that IS sad! Maybe fantasy / sci-fi are under “novels” in general. Then again, there’s a “western, romance, adventure….” category. Strange, indeed! Maybe melodrama means plays…coz I didn’t notice ‘plays’ on that pyramid either…(or I could just be blind…?)

  5. well… I definitely don’t like the “pyramid” structure of this thing.

    Personally, I think a tree format would have been better for education purposes; showing the chronological and/or developmental growth of the different genres/formats of literature.

    Also, I noticed whoever put this together combined genres and formats. Not exactly scientific. Like comparing apples to AAA batteries.

  6. Lol not sure if I agree about how difficulty increases as you go up to the top. I think as readers, it’s up to us to find the value/meaning in whatever it is we read, and it’s possible to go real deeper into things that seem to have an obvious “message” (like fables, at the bottom). In other words, I think the “difficulty” of interpreting what we read depends on how far we’re willing to go before we say, “enough! I think I’ve figured everything out!” which never happens…

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