People tend to gravitate toward what they like. This is true in most things in life. Think of going out to dinner at your favorite restaurant. If you’re anything like me you have one or two favorite meals that you typically order. This is often true of reading as well. Even as an adult I have some genres that I prefer over others. I gravitate towards these genres and read them more often. I do make a point to branch out and read more than my favorites. As teachers, it is our job to encourage students to read different genres.
Why Teach Students to Read Across Genres?
Increase in Vocabulary
Encouraging students to read different genres can lead to an increased vocabulary. Students will come across new and varied vocabulary in different types of books they read.
Encouraging & Motivating
Students who read varied genres may find something they love that they were not exposed to before. Going back to the restaurant comparison from the beginning of this post, you decide to try a new dish at a restaurant and realize you have been missing out by not having it for all this time, that is much like reading different genres.
Exposes Students to Different Text Structures
Different genres are written in different formats. Students that read poetry will be exposed to different text structures than when they read nonfiction texts. This exposure is important.
How Can You Encourage Students to Read Across Genres?
When I taught fourth grade I had my students complete monthly genre book reports. These were perfect for getting students to read a variety of books and working on time management. The projects were small, engaging, and often interactive.
The pictured book report is one of my favorites. I always saved this for our last book report in May or June. It is a Book Share Party and the perfect way for students to go off to summer with a ton of book recommendations from their peers. If you are interested in this book report and the 8 others included in the bundle click here.
Novel Studies and Literature Circles
Encouraging your students to read different genres during novel studies and literature circles is a great way to expose them in a safe space. If you’d like to save some time and check out already-made novel studies and literature circle materials you can check out what I have available in my TPT shop. If you are looking for more information on Literature Circles you can check out this blog post. For more information on novel studies check out this blog post.
Do you read aloud to your class? Reading aloud is fantastic for any age. It shows expression, aids with comprehension, and is just downright lovely to be read to. When you read a new book, identify the genre to your class. My favorite read-alouds for upper elementary are highlighted in this blog post.
Having a classroom library that is set up by genre is a great way to help your students choose a variety of books. I easily set up my library by genre by purchasing colored dot labels. Each dot color corresponds with a genre.
Next to my library, I have a legend so the students can see what each color dot means. I also like to have a genre display that allows students to easily access the definitions. This genre poster pack has 20 different posters for you to print and use.
Another great way to encourage your students to read different genres is to give them a tracker. This visual will help them see what kinds of books they are reading. Grab two free trackers below!