I don’t know about you, but my reading tastes change all the time. Sometimes I go on a fantasy binge and other times I stick to historical fiction. I love switching up genres so I can try a little bit of everything. (And I love Goodreads for recommendations!)
By 3rd and 4th grade, students generally have a pretty solid grasp on their reading preferences. And I’m not a fan of forcing kids to read from a specific genre. But it never hurts to plan activities to help expose them to literary genres they haven’t tried much before. That’s a huge way to support their love of reading!
Whether you want to focus on one genre at a time or several at once, here are a few activities you can use to review and explore reading genres with your students!
Sort By Genre
A hands-on sorting activity is an easy way to review reading genres. It works well as a pre-test, too. I’ve done this with book cover pictures, the blurb on the inside/back cover, and short excerpts from the books. I’ve also had students sort books when we set up our classroom library together.
Switch Up Your Read Alouds
It can be easy to stick to realistic fiction for chapter books and mentor texts, but your read-aloud choices are the perfect opportunity to expose students to genres they aren’t typically reading.
Keeping a list of the book titles and genres you read is a good way to check that you’re including variety in your read-alouds.
Play Musical Chairs
You read that right, ha! This is a great activity to plan with your school librarian. You pick books from different genres and place them on chairs (set up in a circle) or at students’ desks. It works just like regular musical chairs. When they stop on a book, they can skim it and then give a mini-book talk!
Host a Genre Book Tasting
I love doing a book tasting to introduce students to new genres! In this activity, students “taste” different books from whichever genres you want to include. This is great for helping students find new options for independent reading or to pick books for literature circles.
Plan Genre Book Clubs
We usually organize book clubs by reading level or comprehension strategy, but genre-themed reading groups are another option!
Bring Genres into Writing Workshop
In the upper elementary grades, there’s a lot of narrative and informational writing. But it can be so refreshing for you and them to write in different genres, like science fiction or fantasy! You can still work on the same writing skills but have a little more room for creativity.
Assess Reading Genres
Finally, if you want to assess your students’ understanding of fictional genres, this digital activity makes it really easy. You can just assign it right in Google Classroom™ and get a quick check for understanding. This is especially helpful if your ELA standards require students to identify genres.
And for one final tip, I recommend having a variety of formats besides chapter books available for each genre– for example, a graphic novel or a book in verse. That little change in format can make the differentce for a student!
By promoting and providing access to a variety of genres, we can better support our readers. I hope you’ve found some fun activities you’re excited to use to review reading genres with your elementary students.