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Monday, March 18, 2013

Balancing Genres

Question #1: What's your favorite genre of literature? Maybe it's historical fiction, adventure, or mystery. Perhaps you love realistic fiction, folklore, or fantasy.

Question #2: What genres are you reading with your class? Tally them up and ask yourself: Am I a little one-sided? If you're like many middle grade teachers, you're reading a lot of contemporary realistic fiction. After all, it's stuff your students can really relate to.

Question #3: What informational texts are on your reading list? The first big shift for the Common Core State Standards is balancing informational text with literature. Check out this short video for more information (and maybe a little push) about bringing more nonfiction selections into your classroom.

Here's the big question: Does your classroom reading list need a shake-up?

You're probably thinking that all of this is well and good . . . but you really don't have the finances to add more literature and nonfiction to your classroom reading list.

Here are three ways to bring more reading materials into your classroom. For free!
  1. Visit Project Gutenberg. They currently offer over 42,000 titles with expired U.S. copyrights! You can even adapt the text for different reading levels in your classroom.
  2. Use pamphlets relating you your social studies or science curriculum. This week, instead of our tired old Indiana history book, my class is reading about the Indianapolis 500 with flyers and free teaching materials supplied by the racetrack!
  3. Give your students online reading assignments. For example, my class had a blast with "Adaptations" by Project Beak this year. They practiced online reading strategies while learning more about science topics.