When I recreated my classroom library this year, I wanted to organize my books in such a way that students could easily find stories that fit their interests. Like most bookstores and libraries, I organized my books by genre. But here’s the problem with traditional genres: kids don’t always know what they mean.
One of the great mini-lessons I can do at the beginning of the school year is an introduction to the concept of genres and the definition of some traditional genres.
However, I am fairly sure that the traditional genre titles may be too general to help developing readers connect to a book. I find that many writers today are writing outside of “traditional” genres. Most libraries and book stores have a limited number of genres, but there are lots of books that cross genres or that aren’t easily defined by the categories at most book stores. Limiting the number of genres is best for a larger collection and is not generally a deterrent to avid readers.
In my much smaller collection, I have tried to come up with some “teenager-friendly” genre names, names that would be descriptive of the content of the book in words that students will understand. I will, of course, always have to explain certain words, like “Dystopian” or “Steampunk” or “Paranormal.”
Here are some of the genres I have used this year for my library:
- Science Fiction
- Dystopian Fiction
- Retold Fairy Tales
- Historical Fiction
- Teen Romance
- Paranormal Romance
- Stories about Teens Dealing with Serious Issues
- Stories that Don’t Take Themselves Too Seriously
- Nonfiction: Military Issues
- Nonfiction: Travel and Adventure
- Nonfiction: Social Issues
How do you organize your classroom libary? Do any of you organized your books by genre? What other genres would you suggest? What genres do you use in your classroom?