Friday, December 13, 2013

Genres...It's What You Expect! Part 1

Genres...It's What You Expect!

Genres are containers for thinking.  They help us to orient ourselves to the kind of story we are hearing and its purpose. ~Pam Allyn

Some students struggle to "hold on" to the text.  Fountas and Pinnell remind us that memory is one of ten reasons that students struggle. (These)..."Reading difficulties are revealed when the instruction children receive is not appropriate to their experience." (p. 32 When Readers Struggle).  So, it is our job to provide these experiences.  Like a missing block in a building that cannot stand, an understanding of the genres is built upon itself.  When students build a basic understanding of the genres, a structure is in place for them to sort and sift information. If the students have an understanding that there is an organizational structure to the text before they read, they will be able to place the important information into the structure that they expect from that genre.  For instance, if I know that a fictional text will always have characters, setting and plot, then I know what kind of information to hold onto as I am reading.
Students have heard about fiction and nonfiction since their earliest school days. I wonder, how well have we shared with them why we talk about genres?  That there are reasons we identify books within genres.  

"What can you expect from this genre?
This question is a building block to comprehension.  It allows students to set up an organizational structure in their mind for the information they will be processing.  It begins with the largest areas:  Fiction and Nonfiction.  

What can you expect from Fiction?  
1.Is usually a narrative 
2.Includes these elements:  setting, characters, problem or conflict, a plot with episodes, problem resolution and a conclustion.  
3.Is Realistic or Fantasy  
4.The main purpose is to entertain

What can you expect from Nonfiction?
It is Informational
Either Narrative (Biographical or Narrative Fiction) 
Non-Narrative (Expository, Procedural or Persuasive)

So, we need to make sure that our students know what they can expect from each genre by asking them just that...What can you expect from this genre?
Stay tuned for more information to come about what to expect from different forms of these genres!
Happy Reading!
Sheila Richburg

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