Students need to be exposed to a number of genres, not just
their favorites. The main genres that school aged children need to be familiar
with are fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, biography, fable, historical fiction,
and poetry (just to name a few). You can get students instantly interested in
each of these categories and carry the excitement into their homes with some of
these no-fail, fun genre activities.
Activity 1-Genre Toss
In the beginning of the school year, introduce the concept
of genres by utilizing a big genre mat. Draw at least 5 large squares on a
long, colorful paper and label each fiction, biography, historical fiction,
etc. Each day, choose one student to take a bean bag and toss it on one of the
squares. If the bean bag lands on fantasy, define the characteristics of
stories that fit into that specific category. Then, read a story to support
your statements. After reading the story, allow students to choose a fantasy
story from your classroom library to take home and read with their family. They
must return the next day and tell at least 3 reasons why the book they read was
placed into the fantasy genre. This process can be repeated daily until all
genres are covered.
Activity 2-Genre Tic Tac Toe
Create or use a tic tac toe template. Tell students they
must choose three activities that fall in a row, column, or horizontally; just
like a tic tac toe game. They have one month to complete the activities.
Customizable activities can include taking a family trip to the library and
checking out a biography book, writing their own poem, or even taking pictures
of various books/genres that they have around their house. Students will love
the freedom of choice and the family interaction.
Activity 3-Family Photo
To ensure that your students truly understand each genre,
assign them one or let them pull one from an envelope. They must go home and
dress up with their family members in clothing and use props that truly
represent the essence of the genre. For example, if a student pulls historical
fiction, they can take a black and white photo with their family outdoors
dressed in clothing that reflects an era of the past and with nothing but
nature or even with some kind of farm equipment in the background.
These three in school or at home activities are not only
fun, but will teach your students about the numerous genres available and what
makes each of them unique.