As a teacher you want your students to read and experience a wide variety of literary genres, but often it is hard to get them interested in straying from their usual book choices.
This blog post will explain the benefits of reading different genres and share ideas for lessons and activities to help teachers inspire and motivate their students to read a variety of genres.
6 Benefits of Teaching Many Genres of Literature:
1. Reluctant Readers = A student who struggles with reading a novel may fall in love with poetry, or biographies, mysteries (or even horror!) and be able to improve their attitude about reading by being exposed to many other varieties of literature.
2. Vocabulary = Each genre of literature carries with it an opportunity to learn a wider variety of vocabulary, which the student will need as they read more, and also as they progress in their academic career.
3. Skill building = If a student is not able to grasp one reading skill, such as making inferences, within one genre, perhaps they can grasp the concept by using another form of literature. (For example, using a picture book instead of a poem when learning how to make an inference)
4. Confidence = As a student learns how to interpret and understand one literary genre, their confidence will build as they broaden their horizons to learn from other genres.
5. Reading Skills = The development of so many reading skills relies on teachers modeling those skills, such as fluency, by using many genres of literature.
6. Bring on the FUN! = So often we are focused on what the child must read, and how much time we must spend reading, that we forget that one of the best aspects of books and reading is that it should be fun and relaxing and pleasant to read! Finding a genre of literature that a student will love to read, by exploring many genres, is the key to making reading fun and to developing a love of reading that will last a lifetime!
How to Teach Genre to Elementary Students
Filling your classroom bookshelves with a collection of titles and series from a broad spectrum of genres is important. However, that alone may not be enough. You need to also provide your students with lessons, activities, and resources to inspire and motivate them to explore all different types of genres.
What is the Difference Between Fiction Books and Non-Fiction Books?
Start by teaching your young readers the difference between fiction and non-fiction. Avoid telling them that fiction is make believe and non-fiction is real. Instead define fiction as “a story with characters and events that have been made up in the author’s mind.” Explain that non-fiction books are informative. Use actual non-fiction books and explore the text features.
Teach the Definitions of Book Genres
From there you can start to focus on the characteristics that define each genre. One simple activity that makes a great center is to place a collection of books on a table and have the students sort them by genre. Only select a few different genres at a time until the students become more skilled at identifying them. Continue this practice with other centers that include sorting activities and matching games as ongoing review.
Display Genre Posters on a Bulletin Board or in the Classroom Library.
Offer additional support by displaying reference posters in the classroom and by giving each student a bookmark to remind them as well.
Motivate the Students to Read Different Genres.
Encourage students to read from the different genres with incentive charts. Two of my favorites that I’ve found to be extremely effective are tally charts and Bingo boards. I display and use a whole class version for read aloud books we’ve enjoyed together and provide each student with their own copy as well.
Provide Students Opportunities to Write About Genres
You can help students to reflect on their experiences with different genres by recording their thoughts on paper. When finished you can display these for other students to read as recommendations. For a great looking bulletin board you may want to consider hanging them with a photo of the child holding the book they wrote about. The written reflections can also be assembled into individual student books by collating several different genres. Another option would be to have each student write a reflection on a different book from the same genre to create a class book that the children can read to find new titles. Additionally the reflections make a great assessment tool of student understanding.
Classroom teachers are welcome to create their own versions of each of the items shown for personal use in their own classroom. However, if you would like to save time I have made all of them available in a quick and easy packet titled, Genre Made Easy so you can just print and go and have your students enjoying a variety of genres in no time.
Introducing your students to different genres and encouraging them to read a variety of books will strengthen their reading, vocabulary and writing skills. This resource includes genre posters, printables, games, bookmarks, and more! It will make your job easier!
This blog post will…
- identify the problems this resource solves
- suggest how it can help you and your students
- explain why you will love it and how to use it
- offer testimonials from elementary teachers like you
- share what’s included in this resource
Are you looking for a fun and easy way to teach your students about genre? If so, this is the resource for you!
- This resource will expose your students to many different genres.
- All students will be able to access the content through the differentiated resources.
- It will increase student engagement.
- It will strengthen their reading and writing skills.
- Reluctant readers may find the genre that pulls them into the world of reading.
- This resource will engage your learners by offering a variety of formats for students to learn through (posters, games, activities, written responses, etc.).
- It will meet your students’ learning needs through differentiation.
- It will strengthen their reading skills without them even realizing it!
- It will make your job easier because there is little to no prep. Some resources may require quick and simple cutting, while most are print and go. Many of the pages are even reusable and can be used over and over with different books.
- Your reluctant readers could find the genre that pulls them into the world of reading.
- This product has a comprehensive bundle of resources that will enable you to teach genre effectively.
Check out these testimonials from teachers who’ve used it in their classrooms…
CLUTTER-FREE CLASSROOM HAS DONE IT AGAIN! You KNOW how much I love you and all your products. This one is just another example of how fabulous you really are. EVERY year I end the year realizing that I should have done more with genre study… well now I will finally do it well! Because of you! THANK YOU!!!
– Elyse Jahnke
I love all of your resources, but I’m especially excited to use this to help my kiddos understand what they’re reading and what suits them best. I love the variety in the activities, so there’s several options for teaching!
– Stephanie L.
We had such a great time learning about Genres this week! Thank you so much for that! 🙂 Thank you for the DETAILS you put into your work! I am THRILLED every time I open up a download from you….makes me so excited to be teaching.
– Exploring Elementary
Can’t wait to use this! I love the simplicity and accuracy of the definitions of the genres and the abundance of games/center ideas–and, of course, the endearing artwork! You saved me hours of planning and searching the web. Thank you!
– Lynne O.
This is a great time saver for me and provides all the elements that students will need to be accountable for on state standards assessments. The student-friendly language is what really appealed to me as well as the wonderful graphics. Thanks so much for your wonderful resource!
– Linda M S.
You can read more great feedback from teachers just like you here!
- GENRE POSTERS: Sixteen 8.5 x 11 inch charts featuring a the name of the genre, a description and images to provide a visual cue using Melonheadz clipart
- TALLY CHARTS: Three tally chart options (blank, color and ink-saving black and white). After reading a book, record the book’s genre using tallies in the appropriate box. These can be used individually by students or displayed in the classroom and used to track your read aloud books.
- GENRE BINGO: Students cross off a box after reading a book from that genre. The goal is to get 5 boxes in a row, column or diagonally across. This was designed to help encourage your readers to branch out in their selections. This printable comes in three varieties (blank, color and ink-saving black and white).
- READER RESPONSE SHEETS: There are 2 differentiated response sheets for each of the sixteen genres featured in this resource. Each asks the students to identify the genre of a book they have read and support their thinking with details from the text.
- GO FISH OR MEMORY MATCH: The first set of cards can be used in several ways. Some teachers like to print the 2 whole pages and include them as a reference in the students’ notebooks or folders. Print two copies and cut apart to play a matching game or print 4 copies of each and use the cards to play “Go Fish.” There are also sets of cards included that include just the name of the genre on one and the description of the genre on the other for a more advanced version of those two games.
- SELF-CORRECTING MATCH CARDS: Print all the pages and cut the cards out on the dotted line. Use scissors to cut the name of the genre apart from the description of the genre. By cutting in distinct patterns instead of straight, the students will know if their answer is correct if the 2 pieces fit together.
- GENRE BOOKMARKS: Printable 2-sided bookmarks. Each page contains two bookmarks. Cut the page down the middle and fold each piece in half. Laminate for durability if desired. These make a great reference tool.
- GENRE MATCH: Use the cards to play Memory/Concentration by matching the genre card to the correct definition card. This also makes an excellent pocket chart activity center.
- NAME THAT GENRE: Use the colored genre cards as categories. Have the students sort the description cards into the correct category. To make the activity self-correcting you could write the card numbers on the back of the category cards.
- THE GENRE SORT: Print all pieces and cut on the dotted lines. The names of the genres are used as headers. Have the students place the story description cards with it’s correct genre. As an alternative, many teachers like to use actual books and have the students sort them based on their descriptions.
- GENRE CHALLENGE: This sheet encourages students to read books from a variety of genres.
- FICTION vs NONFICTION: These may be used in 2 different ways. The first is to print a copy for each student and fold the page in half so one side reads fiction and the other reads non-fiction. The teacher then either describes a book or reads parts from a book and the students hold up the card to show if it is fiction or nonfiction. The other option is to use them as headers and have the students sort actual books into the two categories.