I started my year with genres on the brain. As teachers we know that it’s essential to expose students to a wide variety of genres. So this year I’ve been doing some reflecting and putting some elements in place to help my students and I think about the types of genres that we are reading in class.
One way that I’m getting my students to branch out is by presenting them with the 40 book challenge. This is an idea that I got from Donna Lynn Miller’s book The Book Whisperer. I have adapted this for my fifth graders and the handout that I gave them is below. I was sure to make it clear that this was a personal challenge and not a contest and that there were no prizes, only the satisfaction of having met a goal.
One of the changes that I made was that I allow my students to use picture books in the biography, informational, and poetry genres. Based on surveys that I gave, I realized that many of my students would never choose one of these genres on their own, so allowing them to access the genre through picture books made it approachable for them. This change also helps my students to read many books and so far it looks like everyone will succeed and a great deal of students will read far more than 40 books!