Generally Speaking! Making Generalizations in Fiction

Contributor: Victoria Surface. Lesson ID: 10064

Sometimes, generalizations are usually true. Generally, they are never always true but everybody thinks they're false. Learn what all generalizations are with online fun and mostly creative projects!



learning style
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

  • EVERYONE is nice.
  • ALL of the kids are mean.
  • NOBODY pays attention to me.
  • EVERYONE pays attention to me.
  • I can NEVER have friends over.
  • I ALWAYS have friends over.

What do all of the sentences have in common? They are generalizations, and the words in all caps change the meaning of each sentence. Let’s take a look at whether these statements are true or false and how we can figure that out!

Choose a novel to read as you work through the activities.

Some Suggested Reading is in the right-hand sidebar.

Download and print the Making Generalizations Graphic Organizer from Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar. You will answer these questions as you work through the worksheet:

  • Which sentences in the book or text are like “big umbrella” statements? Which characters make these statements, and are they followed by supporting facts?
  • What words and phrases did you find in the book that signal generalization statements?
  • Is the statement made by the character a valid or faulty generalization?
  • What is the difference between a valid and faulty generalization?
  • What generalizations can you make from the book or text?

A generalization is a broad statement about a group of people or things. Key words change the meaning of the generalization.

Some examples of key words include:

  • sometimes
  • always
  • never
  • most
  • all
  • generally
  • many
  • nobody
  • everybody
  • usually

Look at how key words change the meaning of the following statements:

  • Dogs always bark.
  • Dogs never bark.
  • Sometimes dogs bark.
  • Usually dogs bark.
  • Most dogs bark.
  • All dogs bark.

Generalizations are either valid or faulty.

Valid means true, but for a generalization to be true, it has to be supported by facts and proven with examples. A faulty generalization is one that is false, or not supported by facts.

Which of the above generalizations about dogs are valid and which are faulty?

Some key words to look out for in faulty generalizations are "all," "always," and "never."

Visit the links below to view videos and read about making generalizations. Take notes about the generalization key words, valid and faulty generalizations, and supporting facts. For creative inspiration, The Notebooking Fairy has some ideas on Fifty Things to Put in a Notebook.

Be sure to include definitions, examples, and even illustrations to help you remember!

  1. Find three generalizations in the book you are currently reading.
  2. Remember to look for the generalization key words.
  3. Use the Making Generalizations Graphic Organizer to help you organize your thoughts and write down facts to support the generalization.
  4. When you are finished with each generalization, decide if it is valid or faulty, and explain why.

When you are ready, continue on to the Got It? section to create some fun online stuff for practice!

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