Time to Delve Deeper
Once you are certain that the children have a good understanding of fiction vs. nonfiction stories, you can delve deeper into your genre study with young students.
Explain to the class that fiction and nonfiction literature can be further divided into different categories or "types." These are called genres. A genre is basically a certain kind or type of work--be it a book, music, art or even movie. Also explain that you will be spending time for the rest of the year exploring the different genres of fiction stories and genres of nonfiction works in literature:
- Informational literature
- Traditional literature
- Fantasy/Science Fiction
- Realistic Fiction
- Historical Fiction
Provide the names of the genres, and a brief explanation of what they might find in this type of story. For example, explain to the students that autobiographies are true stories that a person has written about themselves. In this type of story, you will expect the narrator (or person telling the story) to use the word "I" a lot. You will also hear about things that really did happen, and they will take place in locations which really do exist.
You can decide for yourself whether to present one genre at a time, and then provide multiple examples of books which would be placed in that category, or if you would rather take it one book at a time and simply identify the genre of the story you happen to be reading.
One suggestion is to create posters to hang around your room--each bearing the name of a different genre. Just as you kept track of titles which were fiction or nonfiction, you can keep track of stories which fall under each different genre. Write the title directly on the corresponding poster.
As you learn about new genres during the year, consider having book bins devoted to a particular genre available to the students. This way, if they would like to read more historical fiction books, or spend some time reading poetry, they can find examples in the corresponding book bin.
You can encourage students to try different genres by providing them with a sticker chart or even a genre passport. Here, they can keep track of the different genres they have tackled by receiving stickers or stamps in the corresponding genre section for each book read.
Finally, transfer what you have learned during your genre study into your writing curriculum, by asking students to begin thinking about what genre their written stories might fall under. You can even include student-published books into your genre book bins for free reading time.