Reading Workshop: making genre study more interactive

Reading Workshop flew by last week – so much ground to cover, and so many routines/procedures to get in place.  By Thursday, it was clear that many of my kids just wanted to get into their books and READ.  We had just set up our Reading Logs for the year, and I wanted to turn to a discussion about genres.  In years past, when my room was pretty much ready to go a week before school began, I made a big production of sorting the books in our class library, coming up with the specifics of genre and creating a system of shelving and labeling our books.  We had great fun doing this, we learned a lot about our classroom library, but it took about three days of effort – three days of reading workshop time.
This year, the upheavals of construction had left me not knowing where my books were, as well as the added work of needing to personally clean my books so that I could be sure they were free of construction grit.  So, by Thursday, I wanted a discussion of genre…but it needed to be much shortened.  Instead of making the entire library a label-me-please area, I created baskets of unsorted books:

Groups of students worked together to figure out genre categories and specifics, and then created charts to display their findings:

We displayed all our findings on the whiteboard at the front of our room, and then picked and chose great examples of each genre type for our Reading Journal notes on the topic.  We talked about how authors sometimes blend genres, and my kids used examples from their book baskets to explain their thinking…which, of course, led to some wonderful conversations about the types of  reading challenges these type of blended genres  pose.  New labels for our classroom library were suggested…and then the bell rang.
My kids did not get a chance to sort and arrange their library this year, but I think we reached an understanding about how their library would be categorized and what they could expect to find when they next went on a book hunt in our room.  Mission accomplished! 


2 thoughts on “Reading Workshop: making genre study more interactive

  1. I love your pizaa pie genre list. Looks great. The conversation sounded very good & even exciting for the students. To get them talking about books in that way is the start of a good reading year!

  2. My kids are always so interested in the blended genres. Their favorite are the science fiction that are more dystopian science catastrophes. This sounds like a great experience!

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