Nurturing Reading Skills Through Genres

Most people have their favorite reading genre. While some prefer realistic fiction or graphic novels, others prefer informational text or biography. We need to be careful, however, that we don't limit ourselves and our students to one or two genres. When children are introduced to a variety of books, they are transported to worlds different than their own. They become more familiar with language and new vocabulary, and they develop a greater interest in reading and learning. Also, readers who read multiple types of books tend to score higher on comprehension tests than those who stick with one type of reading material.

Look at the following genres and see if you can find some that might interest your students.

  • POETRY Children of all ages enjoy poetry if they have been introduced to types that interest them. Children love humorous poems such as those by Jack Prelutsky, Eloise Greenfield, or Shel Silverstein. Poems that children can relate to personally will hold their interest. When your children hear you read poems they begin to recognize the rhythm and cadence of language.
  • FANTASY Who doesn’t love a good fantasy story? Think of Harry Potter, Limony Snicket, or James and his giant peach. Well written fantasy books take the reader on the adventure with them, almost making it all seem real. They are a great form of fun escapism for many children and adults. Also, some authors of fantasy write a series of books about the same character. Once children latch onto one of the books in the series, they are hooked.
  • BIOGRAPHY Books about the lives of famous people provide children with a peak into what they could become or how someone was able to triumph over tragedy. This is what children love about biographies. They can learn about themselves through the lives of other people. Also, kids are curious — they want to know why famous people did what they did. After all as one past U.S. President said, “All history is gossip.” David Adler writes many biographies for elementary aged children.
  • HISTORICAL FICTION Readers of these types of books are drawn to learning about the past...where the people of the time period lived, what they ate, how they spent their days, and why the time period was important in history. The characters may be a mixture of real and imaginary. The events must be portrayed as if they actually could have happened. One of the most well-known examples of historical fiction is the Little House series.
  • INFORMATIONAL Find the right topic and these types of books are a hit especially with boys. Informational readers like to skip around to find what peaks their curiosity, and most of these books lend themselves to this type of reading. One tip…make sure that the books are current enough to contain accurate information.
Treat your children (and yourselves) to taste a bit of each reading genre. You’ll both come away quite satisfied.