An Easy Strategy to Encourage Your Students to Read a Variety of Genres
We like what we like.
I will ALWAYS order the same chicken dish at my favorite Indian restaurant. It's delicious and it's not worth the risk to order something different and end up not liking it. Plus the gazillion options on the menu overwhelm me and I just don't feel like taking the time to review each item.
Are you like that, too?
It's human nature to gravitate toward what we know we will like. But - if I'm being honest, every time I order take-out from said restaurant, I wonder what I'm missing.
In fact, I recently did learn what I was missing when my husband's co-worker from India made the MOST AMAZING Indian dish to share. My hubby brought some home...I tried it...and LOVED IT! I had been missing out...BIG time! Don't get my wrong - I'm not abandoning my oldie-but-goodie menu option, but now I have TWO options to order from the next time we do take-out.
So why am I talking about Indian food?
Simple really - it's all about trying something new - a new reading genre to be exact.
We all have those students that will ONLY read Magic Tree House books, or a mystery book, or fill in the blank. They like what they like, and rarely deviate from it. But - WHAT IF there was an amazing reading genre just waiting for them that they would actually love if they would just give it a chance!
It's our job as teachers to expose our students to a variety of genres throughout the year to turn our students into well-rounded readers.
THE IMPORTANCE OF READING A VARIETY OF GENRES:
Helping our students to explore a variety of genres not only makes them well-versed readers but it also makes them better readers. Here are just a few perks to having genre-savvy students
Different genres expose students to different sets of vocabulary terms that are genre-specific. Students will come across very different words and phrases in a science fiction book than they would a historical fiction book. Both are equally important to expanding and developing their vocabulary.
Exploring varying genres will expose students to different story/text structures. Take graphic novels vs. poetry or mystery vs. informational- these are vastly different in how the text/information is presented to the reader.
Reading a plethora of reading genres gives students a taste of different writing crafts which can then influence their own writing.
Reading different genres help to contribute to a student's social and emotional growth. The more variety a student reads, the deeper the understanding a student has about social and emotional issues. They learn new ways of expressing thoughts and feelings through the characters and topics in the books that they read.
New genres can inspire young readers and help them develop new passions and interests that they may have not otherwise been exposed to.
The list can go on and on...but I'm sure you get the point!
Enter in the reading genre wheel. When students use a reading genre wheel to track their book variety - it's easy to see which genre they are die-hard for and which ones are being totally neglected. It's a quick assessment for both the student and the teacher. It helps encourage students to venture out to try something new from their wheel.
HERE'S HOW A READING GENRE WHEEL WORKS:
Each student receives their own reading genre wheel to keep in their reading notebook or folder.
Each time a student completes a book, they will color in a circle within that genre section on their wheel. Each genre should use a different color.
As students fill up their wheel, provide them with additional wheels throughout the year.
During your reading conferences, refer to the wheel often and encourage students to read from different genres that appear to be neglected in their wheel. You may want to make it a challenge to complete each circle in each genre before having them begin a new wheel.
TIP: Start a class wheel where you fill in a circle for each read-aloud that you complete with your students.
Try out The Reading Genre Wheel with your students for FREE!
You can grab your FREE Reading Genre Wheel inside our Member’s Resource Library!
If you’re already a member, head there now and find this resource under: “READING RESOURCES” inside the library.
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