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Genres Galore- How to Introduce Genres to Your Students and How the Whole Family Can Get Involved!

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.