Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Navigating the Library: Teaching Genre

The genre lesson I'm going to share is one that I used for my National Board portfolio last year. It is an effective lesson for me that keeps the kids engaged and involved. I hope that you can take it and adapt it for your needs.
Learning genre is vital for my students because our fiction is arranged by genre. It is also one of their standards. I use this lesson with my sixth graders and they have fun while they learn.
I divide the lesson over two days. The first day I give them a modified version of the What's Your Genre? quiz created by Mrs. Readerpants. This is always fun because every student (and adult too) loves to talk and learn about themselves.
For the second visit I have small whiteboards and markers out at each table and a small printout of each genre sticker that I use in the library, one set for each table. I use these slides for the lesson.

What is genre? from Palmetto Middle School

Each student has a handout that they fill in as we go through the lesson. First we discuss and define genre. Then I show just the genre sticker and have them write down characteristics of that genre on the whiteboard and a book title that fits in that category. After we discuss it briefly and I look at their answers I show the description at the bottom. Then they fill in their sheet. We quickly go through each genre doing the same.
Then I do an informal assessment of their understanding using book covers. I show a book cover and they have to hold up the correct genre label at their table. I tried to choose book covers that would give them clues. We talk about how they decided on genre just using book covers. You could easily do this with a stack of books, but usually if I show a book they will immediately check it out so I didn't want to have to run around between each class to find another good example.
The teachers follow up this lesson by giving groups in their classroom a stack of books and asking them to sort by genre. That would be another easy informal assessment of understanding.
At the end of the lesson students check out books. It is always fun to see how they browse the library with a new understanding.
This lesson is simple, but effective.
How do you teach genre to your students?


  1. Hi! The link to "what's your genre" is broken. Can you share your modified version?

  2. never mind, I found it. Great ideas, thanks for sharing!