Changes in fiction arrangement or labelling gives you an opportunity to promote and discuss with library users the characteristics of different genres. It also helps identify personal reading preferences, people who share reading preferences, and effective book selection strategies.
Promote at sessions with students as they visit the library. Also consider displaying library posters, wordles (word clouds generated using wordle.net) and other displays with genre information and title examples.
wordle.net — Wordle is a tool for generating 'word clouds' from text that you provide.
Posters, promotional material
There are many resources available online for posters and other promotional material, for example, the video Genres of literature by Courtney Jackson.
Free to use genre posters from Goodyear Elementary School available via Ready Teacher
Genres of literature (YouTube, 1min38)
Ready Teacher — free genre posters
Genre challenge — encourage reading across genres
Students may revel in having all their favourite books 'in one place', but the genre arrangement can also be used to encourage students to read widely within and across genres.
Michelle Simms, the Librarian at Te Totara School, who outlines her experience of setting up genre shelving in her blog, A Good Keen Librarian, has set her older students a genre challenge:
“I have decided to do a genre challenge where I challenge our older students to:
- write down what genre their favourite book is in
- read a book in that genre by a different author
- read a book from a completely different genre.
If they complete the challenge within a month they get to go into the draw for prizes. Hopefully, that will encourage teachers to start a conversation about the different genres.”
A Good Keen Librarian
Genre quizzes to identify student's genres of interest
Michelle Simms and others have created quizzes to help students identify which genres appeal to them.
What's your genre — A Good Keen Librarian
What's your other genre — A Good Keen Librarian
Genre infographic — what is your genre — from the Biblio Files blog
Students might be encouraged to keep track of their reading life with a log, which records what they read and from which genre. Teachers could encourage students to try a different genre, and possibly even require at least a few titles from each genre over the course of a year.
Donalyn Miller, a middle school teacher in Texas, known as the Book Whisperer, invites her students to read 40 books across various genres during the school year. Students self-select their own books but must sample a few books in each genre, documenting this in notebooks in a simple graph format.
Her 40 book requirement comprises:
- 5 x Realistic fiction
- 4 x Historical fiction
- 3 x Fantasy
- 2 x Science fiction
- 2 x Biography or Autobiography or Memoir
- 5 x Non-fiction
- 4 x Poetry
- 3 x Traditional literature
- 1 x Graphic novels
- 11 x own choice
Collaborative project capturing students genre knowledge
Jennifer LaGarde, Library Girl, is working with students to create collaborative projects using the presentation software Prezi:
“collaborative projects where students contribute to our collective knowledge of each genre. As I have the opportunity to speak with students (both formally and informally) about genre, I invite them to contribute to the growing collection of Prezis that are being generated related to different types of books. Students can add book trailers, reviews, artwork, fan fiction or you name it.”