January 31, 2013

Genre Knowledge During Guided Reading

When a student understands genre, they will be able to more easily access the text.  Every single processing strategy (solving words, summarizing, predicting, inferencing, making connections, critiquing, and analyzing) is more efficient and able to process when the reader understands and has knowledge about the genre of the book.  It feels like during whole-class minilessons I can teach genre and discuss it in relation to interactive read alouds, but a lot of times, the middle school students still look at me funny when I say, "Is this fiction or non-fiction?"  It's sad to admit this, but it is true with some of my students!

With that being said, I have found guided reading to be a great place to work on forming knowledge of a variety of genres with students.  I cannot stress enough the importance of giving each guided reading group a chance to access a variety of genres throughout the school year.  Students have their genre preferences that they continually gravitate toward in their independent reading.  However, guided reading is one of the places where it is SO SO SO essential to expose them to different types of fiction and non-fiction.

So where in the guided reading lesson do I infuse talk about genre?

  • During the text introduction I generally ask my students to make predictions about the genre of the book based on the front cover and back cover.  Once the correct genre is determined, I ask students what we should expect from this book based on what we know about that type of genre.  For example, one of my guided reading groups just started the book, Sounder, this week by William H. Armstrong.  After looking at the front, reading the back, and reading the author's note, we determined that the book was going to be historical fiction.  We were then able to talk about how historical fiction is a made up story, is set during a time in the past, the author likes to incorporate real events and portray how life was at that time, it's generally a story about a character who had trouble because of something going on in the past, etc.  Just think about how much was going through the minds of my students before even reading the first page.  They were able to picture characteristics of the text based on the genre before reading.
  • During discussion and revisiting of the text after the students have read for guided reading that day, I always hit questions that are within, beyond, and about the text.  One question that my students always know is coming when we get to talking about the text is:  Analyze how this book is an example of (genre)?  How does the author create this genre for us?  This is always a question that generates a lot of great discussion, and gets students to look back for specific evidence in the book.
The following is a picture of my guided reading area, along with a few pictures of anchor charts that define specific genres within fiction and non-fiction.  My students like to refer to these during discussions of genre during guided reading lessons.  There is also a picture of the chart I keep to track the titles and genres of the books that all of my guided reading groups are finishing.

I hope that everyone has a great Friday tomorrow and possibly got some new ideas about how to incorporate genre talk into guided reading! :)


1 comment :

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