Must Try Tip to Encourage Students to Read a Variety of Genres

Must Try Tip to Encourage Students to Read a Variety of Genres

One goal I always have for my students each year is to help them grow as readers who love to read a variety of books, reading genres, series, and authors.

I spend a lot of time at the beginning of the year going over our classroom library, explaining how to find and borrow books, and sharing different reading genres with my budding readers. Young readers are often limited to levels books, books that they see displayed, or books that they see friends and family reading. It is our job as reading teachers to expose our growing readers to a wide range of books to read and fall in love with!

One way I have found to successfully encourage students to read a variety of reading genres is by helping students have a balanced reading diet.

The following are questions that I am often asked about how I promote having a balanced reading diet in my classroom. 

What is a balanced reading diet?

balanced reading diet genre lessons

I love explaining a balanced reading diet by comparing it to a well balanced food diet. Just like your body needs a variety of foods to help it grow, so does your reading diet. This simple analogy always helps students to see that they should be reading a wide range of genres, series, and authors.

At the start of the school year, we go over our classroom library (which is organized by reading genres) and discuss the characteristics of each genre. By clearly explaining each genre, showcasing a genre bucket, and recommending a book or two for each genre, students are engaged and curious! Leaving a genre bulletin board display up all year long truly helps and encourages students to explore different genres.

How can you encourage a balanced reading diet?

balanced diet book club card genre lesson

In my classroom, I use frequent reader club cards to encourage students to read new genres. It is a fun way to help students expand their reading and teach responsibility since these cards are non-refundable! 

These cards are fun, easy to use, and highly motivating for students! I hand out the cards and chat about them with students. After they read a book that matches one of the listed genres, they must share an oral summary about the book and explain why it is that genre.  Students can find me to chat about the book during morning work, snack time, or dismissal. This is not done during instructional time. Once all 7 genres listed on the card are stamped/punched, the student earns a reward. It is usually something simple like, lunch with the teacher, homework or morning work pass, or tickets for our weekly raffle. After the student has submitted their card for a prize, they get a new card and start all over again.

What is a reading genre challenge?

reading genre book challenge lesson

This is such a fun activity to do after you teach students about the different reading genres and it is easy to do!

Just grab a few baskets and fill them with a wide range of reading genres from your classroom library. Put the baskets in the middle of a group of students to share. Each student takes a book and explores the book: title, cover, summary, read the first chapter, or any other way they want to learn about the book. Then they identify what genre it is, write it down, and begin again with another book.

Students always love this! They learn about new genres, get talking about books with their peers, and get curious about different books in our classroom library.

How do students share a wide range of reading genres?

book talk reading genre lesson

There are two main ways that I have students share what they are reading with their peers. We have a weekly book recommendation sign up and we also do classroom book talks.

  • Book Recommendation Sign Ups: Once a week, students can sign up for an informal book share to be held during our Wednesday morning meeting. It is less formal than book talks, but allows students to share a book that they are currently reading and love. We have a sign up sheet that requires students to write the book title and author. I also ask students to leave the genre code for the book that they would like to share.  Each week we share different genres. If someone already signed up for a book share with the genre that a student wants to share, they will have to wait until the next month. This ensures that a variety of genres are shared each month.
  • Book Talks: Book talk time is a structured time in the day for students to share and talk about the books that they are reading. Through the students' prepared, short oral presentations, they try to sell or persuade their peers to read the book. This means that the students combine their reading, opinion, persuasive, and speaking skills into one meaningful activity. I love to hold book talks every Friday afternoon.
Read more about implementing book talks in your classroom HERE.

When it comes to encouraging students to read a variety of genres and truly grow as readers, try using reading challenges and balanced reading diets. These are fun ways to pique students' curiosity about different genres, series, and authors!

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Check out my favorite reading activities HERE

Like this Visualizing Reading Strategy pack! 

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Want more Reading Genre Resources?
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reading genre display and lessons

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using a balanced diet for reading genre lessons

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