Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Slice of Life: Thinking About Genre

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

I listened to a favorite podcast, Books Between, on my way to watch grandson Jack this morning.  I love this podcast that is hosted by Corinna Allen, a 5th grade teacher and mom of two. Corinna's discussion of genre in Episode 34 started me thinking about the genre list I used to pass out to my students each year.  

I had "genres" that weren't really genres at all.  I like how Corrina cleared up some of my confusion with genres by clarifying that some books are classified by format rather than genre (such as novels in verse and graphic novels which indicate a specific format and can found in a variety of genres).  The one genre from my classroom list that I didn't find on Corinna's genre list was classic.  This category (rather than genre) was mostly a nod to parents who wanted their offspring to read some of the classics they had loved as children.  I like how Corrina emphasized that the lines between genres can be fuzzy at times.  

Corinna's discussion of genre (just a brief part at the beginning of this episode) included reasons to study genre and practical ideas for reinforcing the study of genre in the classroom or library.  I especially like the color coded circle tracker for students to keep track of genres read.  

Sometimes I wonder if focusing on genres kept my students from reading.  My goal was to broaden their reading horizons, but categorizing the books they read by genres often became problematic.  I think some of the ideas Corinna shared might have helped my students understand the genres of books better.  Leave a comment about how you encourage your students to read widely and to branch out into new genres (if you feel that this is an important practice).  


  1. Wow what a great resource. I love podcasts ant this is right up my alley. I have my students log their completed books and they have to figure out what the genre is. It leads to good discussions. Today, I had a student ask me what genre Magic Tree House books fit into. Historical fiction or fantasy. After a discussion he decided on historical fiction. Perhaps, genre is a way to understand our preferences and maybe a way to venture outside of them.

  2. I did talk about genres, Ramona, but mostly relied on sharing books with different students per their wishes and needs. It's an interesting idea to explore when, like Julieanne writes, the genre of a book meets several criteria.

  3. Thanks for letting us know about this podcast, Ramona! We do frame out genre characteristics, but so many books seem to merge these characteristics these days, that that becomes a conversation in and of itself, too.