New Blog Series Coming Soon! {Reading Through Genres}

Hi friends!  I am SUPER excited about starting a new series on the blog!  I'll have my toes in the sand next week, but when I return I'm going to launch this series, so I wanted to do a little introduction and see if you had any questions or recommendations for things to include.

In my classroom, I teach reading through genre studies.  I don't use a basal at all and I also don't strictly do guided reading (gasp!).  I know, I know...that's the big trend right now, but it just doesn't work for me!  I teach reading through a workshop approach using genre studies as the focus.  

In my opinion, my number one goal is to get students to LOVE reading!  Let's face it, if they love it they're going to do it!  And, the more they do it, the better readers they'll be!  I can teach them just the basics of HOW to read, but if they don't love it they're never going to do it on their own...isn't that the goal?!?

My philosophy is that I need to "capture their hearts" and once I've done that I can begin to "stretch their minds."  I love the fact that by exposing them to so many different genres, my students are able to find the one that appeals to them.  Let's face it, as an adult I hate reading historical books.  However, I LOVE a good mystery!  There is a type of book out there for each student.  One that they will love.  It's my job to help them find it!  It's also my job to help expose them to other genres and have them explore outside of their comfort zones a bit - this stretches those minds!

Come along with me on this journey as I give you a glimpse into my classroom and how I teach reading through genre studies.  Moving from a basal to genre studies changed my teaching forever.  I also believe it changed my students. <3

Here are the genres I explore with my class:

Reading Strategies {A Foundation Unit}
Tall Tales
Fairy Tales

Through each genre study, students are...
  • learning the characteristics of that particular genre, 
  •  reading books in that genre on their own independent reading levels,
  • hosting a celebration of learning for an audience
Here's a little overview of some of the things that we'll be talking about in this series to give you an overview.

So, let me know what questions you have, what types of things you would like for me to include in my posts, and if this is something you would be interested in trying in your classroom!!


  1. We are required to use our reading series, which doesn't have a weekly story, just a three week skill. For example, the first unit is main idea. Then we have leveled books for guided reading groups. It's a new program, last year was our first with it. But really, I miss being able to do thematic stories or holiday stories! I'm always wondering how many districts there are out there that allow teachers to use whatever they want for their reading program vs. fidelity to a required program.

    1. Hi Kim! My district is definitely a guided reading district (and before that, basals), but I've found that if your approach works and you can back it up with data and growth that there's not much to argue with you about. I would be devastated if I couldn't teach in the way that works for me and my students and I would be ready to go to bat for it!

  2. I'm excited to read your series. I do mostly guided reading, but would love to emphasize genres more through whole and small groups.

  3. What an awesome series idea! I too love teaching reading through different genres. I vary my read-alouds throughout the year so that the kiddos get exposed to different genres. I love seeing my students run to the historical fiction shelves of my library after discovering the richness that genre holds :)

    We have a Genre Booklet that we add to throughout the year as we explore and take note of the different aspects of different book genres.

    Joy in the Journey

    1. I love that, Jessica! We do an author studies booklet for the year that sounds a bit like that!

  4. I'm so excited about this series. So far where I teach, as long as we can prove we teach the standards and the curriculum we are free to teach it how we want so I want to give this a try for the upcoming year.

    1. You are SO lucky Erika! Many districts (mine included) want all teachers to teach in the same way makes it so hard!! Why do they preach differentiation for students but not want to allow it for teachers?! So frustrating!

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  6. Yes! I can't wait for this series! At my school we implement guided reading. I'd love to implement a genre study through my read alouds and whole group mini lessons. Could I fit it all and do it justice??? #milliondollarquestion ;)

    You start with Reading Strategies unit and while I know that skills/strategies overlap somewhat in your units, can you provide what skills/strategies you focus on in each genre study? Also, do you have specific CCSS mapped out that you focus on for each unit to make sure you've covered all the standards? Thanks, can't wait! Enjoy the beach!

    1. Also, since you don't do guided reading, how often do you confer with your students? Do you get to see al of them each week? How do you assess their reading levels and how often to see if they're making gains/progress? Thanks again!

  7. I love your idea! Can you give a list of the materials you use for the varied levels in your classroom? That's always my biggest challenge. My second graders' reading levels range from a DRA 4 to a 28. I also do not work from a basal. My district gives guidelines to ensure we are teaching through CCSS but we have the freedom to use whatever works for us to accomplish this. I'd love to hear more about differentiation with your genre study.

  8. I am so glad you will be doing this series! I have been teaching using your genre idea for the last three years. I love it and so do my kiddos. I have begun putting each unit into tubs as you have. I notice that you have folders for each lesson in your tub. It all looks so organized, and I am hoping to get to that point. This is what I want to know about; especially, the Reading Strategies Unit. I can't wait to read what you share. Thank you so much for the time you spend and the ideas that you share. You are making me a stronger teacher.


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